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The Quisling

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"It has come to my attention that some have lately called me a 'collaborator', as if such a term was shameful. I ask you, what greater endeavor exists than that of collaboration? In our current unparalleled enterprise, refusal to collaborate is simply a refusal to grow — an insistence on suicide, if you will. Did the lungfish refuse to breathe air?"
Dr. Wallace Breen, Half-Life 2

Named after Vidkun Quisling, who assisted the Nazis in their conquest and rule of Norway during World War II. Heck, prior to this, he was known for helping explorer Fritjof Nansen in humanitarian work during the Armenian Genocide and Russian famine. So not only was he a traitor to his nation, he became a traitor to humanity. The poster person of Les Collaborateurs, The Quisling appears whenever one country or culture is being conquered, occupied, or colonized by another. They do everything possible to curry favor with the new rulers - they speak the invaders’ language more often than their own, ape the foreign customs, and refer to their hometown as New Invaderia instead of Freedomville. They might justify this on the grounds that by securing a position of power and influence they can ensure the occupation is as painless and least oppressive as possible. Sometimes, this person will have been a friend of the heroes before the invasion, but will often be someone who had always given our heroes a hard time. Often, they will also try to make them "see reason" and stop their futile attempts to restore the old regime. Frequently has elements of the Obstructive Bureaucrat or The Dragon. When conversing with the conquering leaders they will probably be Opinion Flip-Flop personified.


Despite all this, the Quisling is never seen as an equal by the conquerors, but at best as a useful tool to keep the natives in line. At worst, they hold them in almost as much contempt as the Quisling’s own people. Either way, they won't hesitate to dispose of them once they outlive their usefulness. If the invaders value honor, expect them to eventually get killed BECAUSE they’re a traitor to the cause: at least the other invaded have a sense of pride and honor!

What distinguishes the Quisling from other Collaborateurs is authority. A Quisling will never be considered an equal by the conquerors but will have a position of power that will be used to influence the conquered people. They will often be the local "poster boy/girl/etc" for submission to the conquerors. If a character has a minor job within the conquerors' hierarchy or simply chooses to accept the conquerors' rule rather than resist, then they are Collaborateurs but not Quislings.


Their storyline tends to end in one of a handful of ways:

  • The first against the wall when the revolution comes. Disposing of or disgracing them is one of the first major victories for La Résistance, and now the real struggle begins as the invaders start to take those rebel scum seriously...
  • As the rebellion grows and its victory draws near, they opportunistically switch or are coerced to switch sides. They’re disgraced and held in even more contempt, but manage to be just useful enough to save their neck.
  • They finally do a Heel–Face Turn and joins La Resistance for real, becoming a redeemed hero in the process (though expect redemption to equal death in a lot of cases). Most common when the apparent betrayal is really a futile attempt at trying to moderate the oppression of the invaders, and they finally go too far.
  • They were actually the Secret Identity of La Resistance's leader all along, playing a dangerous double game to act as The Mole. They might still be vilified in the histories, but the heroes will remember their name with honor.
  • The first against the wall when the revolution ends, as the newly freed heroes are only too eager to convict the heinous traitor in a court of law (or just lynch them in the street). This is what happened to the historical Quisling, as the Norwegians re-instituted the death penalty just to apply it to him.
  • The revolution fails or is temporarily crushed, and they’re killed, "purged" or otherwise done away with anyway, because the higher-ups don't trust a former member of the conquered nation (let alone a traitor). Alternatively, they may kill them if the revolution is doing too well, to get rid of an incompetent puppet leader who not only can't control their own people but is only furthering this unrest.
  • If The Quisling is a Well-Intentioned Extremist or a Knight Templar who earnestly believes that selling their nation out would benefit the people in the long run (as opposed to just being an opportunist or Glory Hound) the heroes may well decide that the Strawman Has a Point and adopt the Quisling's goals even after stripping the original of political power, especially if they simply did what was necessary to try to save as many people as they could in the face of an overwhelming enemy they couldn't possibly defeat.
  • The Quisling will outfox both the heroes and their puppet masters and achieve some hidden agenda that both sides oppose and/or become a legitimate power player in their own right, like in Metal Gear Solid or Suikoden. Since this requires a greater-than-normal amount of Magnificent Bastardry to pull off and toadyism isn't viewed as a cool Evil Virtue… this rarely happens.

Note that "Quisling" is rarely heard in the United States. This is because Americans have their own term for the same thing. See Real Life, below.

Compare to Professional Buttkisser. Contrast with Head-in-the-Sand Management, who is not actually in the employ of the villain, but ends up helping them anyway through inaction or counterproductive actions, and the Peer-Pressured Bully, whose malicious acts are the result of societal pressure.


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  • Writer James Lileks has humorously referred to certain advertising mascots for meat products as "quislings": e.g., a "quisling pig" advertising pork products, or a "quisling fish" selling fish-cakes. Click here for what Lileks calls "the motherlode of Quisling Pig propaganda" — the singing, marching pigs of Valleydale Foods shilling for pork sausages.
  • Humorously averted by the Chick-fil-A Cows, who ask that America "EAT MOR CHIKIN". Chick-fil-A had previously had an anthropomorphic chicken for a mascot; its switch to cows was widely seen as a wise move, in part because this subtrope leads people to think that anything with cows would be for milk, or perhaps beef... nope.
    • There was a somewhat similar advertising campaign used by McDonald's in Finland around the turn of the millennium, where an anthropomorphic pig was standing on the streets around Christmas shouting Syökää Kanaa, meaning "eat chicken" and telling people about promotions at McDonald's. Naturally the pig had ulterior motives for this, namely the fact that during the traditional Finnish Christmas dinner is ham.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Buso Renkin has "familiars", humans who serve the hommunculi and will mark themselves with the same insignia to avoid being eaten by them.
  • Suzaku in Code Geass, who ingratiates himself thoroughly into Britannian culture after becoming the Knight of Seven. And later the Knight of Zero, right-hand man to the new Emperor...his childhood friend, Lelouch. Who he helped dismantle the empire entirely. But since their plan involved Lelouch building an image as the worst dictator in history, and Suzaku seeming to die in service of that dictator, all but the small handful of people who figured out what was happening will remember him as nothing but a traitor. And that's just fine with him.
    • The Kyoto House is the last type, as they publicly surrendered to the Britannians, but they secretly support the JLF and later the Black Knights by building Knightmare Frames.
    • In the final arc, Nina, Lloyd, Cecile, and Sayoko all act as this, of the Heel–Face Turn type specifically under orders of Lelouch as he didn't want them to be dragged down with him when he finally died as the most reviled tyrant.
  • A very strange and unique example of this comes from the Crest of the Stars franchise. Ghintec/Jinto starts out a little ambivalent about the centerpiece Space Elves of the work, the Abh, but by the start of the second "season" of the TV series he's unflinchingly loyal to the Abh and their conquering empire (in part due to, uh, his loyalty to Lamhirh/Lafiel, one of the princesses of the Abh). The people of his own world definitely see him (and his dad) as examples of this trope in-show and it causes a lot of trouble later on. The unique element? Ghintec is our hero and point-of-view character.
    • Becomes a big plot point in Banner III, when Jinto's foster parents (leaders of La Résistance) attempt to convince him to defect. Jinto points out that he can't defect, as he's the only thing standing between them and annihilation by the Abh. (Although his mother suspects it's really about the girl he brought home to dinner with him). It's all very tragic. Leads to Jinto's foster mother pleading with the Abh princess Lafiel to take care of her son. Her response was poetic and quite moving.
    • It's actually lampshaded, when Jinto wonders if he had met other Abh before Lafiel, would he still be on the side of the Abh?
  • George "President Chicken-Maggot" Sairas in Death Note earns his nickname from collaborating with Kira after his predecessor kills himself following a failed operation against the mafia (one that may or may not have been caused by the actual Kira writing in the Death Note).
  • The mayor of Shinjuku in Karas fits this trope, cheerfully doing Eko's bidding—and believing in his philosophy.
  • Job Trünicht in Legend of Galactic Heroes eventually becomes this, selling out his nation to Reinhart's invasion force by leveraging the fact that he still has legitimacy in Free Planets Alliance space (and his own private army of followers). His end eventually comes during the Empire's second civil war when his lack of moral scruples becomes too much for Reuenthal, who uses the fact that he's currently a traitor to the Empire anyway to kill Trünicht.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailors Neptune and Uranus in the final season of Sailor Moon give up their star seeds willingly to Galaxia for power, gladly fight their own friends and teammates, and kill 2 of the others Sailors Pluto and Saturn. This is a gambit on their part to use their powers to capture Galaxia's own star seed. They manage to fool Galaxia well enough, but their plan still fails miserably because Galaxia has no star seed.
    • According to the manga, every member of the Sailor Animamates group was originally a normal soldier on their respective home planets. They each betrayed and murdered their planet's real Sailor Senshi to pave the way for Shadow Galaxia's hordes, and Galaxia rewarded them by making them fake Sailors, hence the "artificial" nature of their names.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist the entire upper echelon of Amestris's government is composed of Quislings. They all secretly serve an inhuman being bent on killing everyone in the country, being promised immortality in return.
  • Eggman does this a bit during the Metarex Saga of Sonic X... that said, he doesn't do a terrible job of it and is out for himself from beginning to end.
  • Kill la Kill: Ragyo Kiryuin is a (former) human who willingly supports the invasion and destruction of Earth by the Life Fibers.
  • In No Game No Life, when Sora and Shiro first arrive in Disboard, they see a tournament held to determine the next ruler of Elkia, the last city of Imanity. The candidate closest to winning, Kurami(a slave of the elves), is collaborating with an elf named Feel(who treats her as a friend rather than a slave), who provides magical assistance that none of the other candidates can notice or hope to match, and says that if she wins, she'll make Elkia a Protectorate of the large elven nation so that Imanity won't have to face a Hopeless War against them and the other 14 more powerful races. While Sora's disgusted by Kurami's lack of faith in Imanity's potential, he concedes that an alliance with the elves is a good idea, so he seems to understand that Kurami's not after power.
  • In Overlord, while Ainz is generally not a good leader, he does have good social skills due to his past as a salaryman. This has helped him convince people to sell out in exchange for things they have always desperately desired:
    • Fluder Paradyne betrays the Empire he helped found and protected for centuries and the Emperor whom he loved and raised as if he were his own grandchild because Ainz embodies the peak of magical power Fluder has sought out his entire life.
    • Pluton Ainzach throws in his lot with Ainz after Ainz promises to turn the Adventurers' Guild into true explorers of the unknown as opposed to glorified monster hunting mercenaries.
    • Princess Renner brokers a secret deal to sell out the Re-Estize Kingdom to Ainz, in exchange for becoming its Area Guardian afterwards.
    • Gondo agrees to share runecrafting with Ainz since runesmiths are no longer appreciated in the Dwarven Kingdom and Ainz is the only one willing to help them revive the dying art.

    Comic Books 
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hawley Griffin betrays the group and sides with the Martians. He plans on becoming the ruler of the earth along with the Martians, to ensure his own survival. He ends up first against the wall, beaten and raped to death by one of the good guys.
  • Cassius Ceramix in Asterix and the Big Fight is one played for laughs: he forces his village to adhere to Roman customs to an absurd degree (for example, he orders an aqueduct to be built in the village despite a river running right through it. When someone points this out, he orders that the river be diverted because "aqueducts are more ROMAN!") and addresses the Roman Villains of the Week as "our beloved invaders."
  • In Secret Invasion the Skrulls plan to set up local Governors. Moonstone claims to be one, asking the Skrulls for control of South America if she helps them. However, this is a trick.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), most of Dr. Eggman's Egg Bosses are this to some degree. The biggest example, however, is Mordred Hood, who sold out his nation just so Eggman would put him in charge.
  • The Flintstones: Mr. Slate once the aliens arrive at Bedrock.
    Mr. Slate: The people of Earth are honored by your visit. And should you ever need a puppet dictator to rule on your behalf... well, I am the richest guy in town.
  • The Flash's father Rudy West was revealed to have been an agent of the Manhunters, a race of Knight Templar alien robots, since before Wally was even born. He tries to recruit Wally to his cause, but obviously he isn't interested. And then as soon as the Manhunters are beaten, he fakes his death, only resurfacing during the next alien invasion (this time ostensibly on Earth's side).
  • Usagi Yojimbo: The idea of My Master, Right or Wrong is repeatedly explored as a samurai ideal throughout the series, with Lord Hebi (a giant snake) serving Lord Hikiji faithfully despite his constant scheming to one day become the Shogun. That is, until the Bad Future of Senso, where Hikiji collaborates with the invading Martians and does nothing to stop them from attacking his own people. This is too much for Hebi, who proceeds to destroy his master by picking him up and repeatedly bashing him against the ground, getting scorched shortly after.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Dan Dare story "Operation Saturn", an aristocratic scientist called Blasco plans to conquer Earth with help from the Rootha, the ruling aristocracy of the moons of Saturn. On arrival, he discovers that the Rootha are in fact Quislings themselves (and the strip explicitly calls them this). The true ruler of Saturnia is a being called Vora, who came from outer space. Vora actually intends to set Blasco up in a similar position to the Rootha, and Blasco is entirely willing to go along with this. Their fates? Dan helps Saturnian rebels overthrow Vora, who sets off to conquer Earth and abandons the Rootha to the mercy of the rebels. Later, in a desperate struggle to save Earth, Digby accidentally knocks Blasco's space helmet off and he suffocates. Seeing this, a defeated Vora then turns his guns on himself.


    Film — Live-Action 
  • Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, the Vichy French prefet de police nominally subservient to the Nazi German invaders. He professes to have no real loyalties, that he "blows with the wind" out of pure self-interest. He certainly has no respect for the Nazis themselves, as he does the absolute minimum to help them whenever they come stomping into his jurisdiction. In the end, Rick Blaine's example reawakens Captain Renault's own idealism, and he joins Rick in the Allied resistance.
  • Red Dawn:
    • The original film has Mayor Bates of Calumet, Colorado, as a reluctant collaborator, especially given that the Soviet and Cuban occupiers are shooting his townspeople in retaliation for the guerrilla actions of the Wolverines. Despite this (or maybe because of it), he turns in his own guerrilla son to the KGB, who force him to turn traitor (for which he gets executed by his friends). It's never shown what, if anything, happens to the Mayor.
    • Likewise in the remake the mayor of Tacoma, Washington is also one, but only because he is entirely concerned for his citizens' own safety and well-being. He doesn't like the invasion, but he knows that the best thing he can do is to make the transition as easy and peaceful for his people as possible. When the time comes that the mayor may end up being killed in a Wolverine operation, the mayor's son apologizes to himself and says that it's for the greater good.
  • The reverse-mole type of Quisling is exemplified by Tom Reagan in Miller's Crossing. Cast out by Irish-mob boss Leo O'Bannon for fooling around with Leo's mistress, he joins up with Johnny Caspar's rising Italian-American gang, but only to take Caspar down from within and save Leo. A Campbellian heroic archetype: To save his own side he sacrifices his honor; this is pointedly an irreversible sacrifice. At the end, Leo invites Tom back into the fold but he can't accept.
  • Two examples from the German film Novembermond: Played straight with a male character who fits the Les Collaborateurs trope, and pretended at by Fèrial to act as The Mole.
  • Many of the former Dead Rabbits in Gangs of New York, but especially Happy Jack Mulraney, who had become one of Bill the Butcher's most valuable men, and whose death marks the return of the Dead Rabbits.
  • Kirkland in Troma's War. He gets his.
  • Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen, has a normally Wiggum-esque police chief become this when the Japanese invade China. Has a last-minute Heel–Face Turn after Ip Man is shot; he kills the Japanese officer who did it and helps the Chinese citizens in fighting the occupying Japanese forces, allowing Ip Man and his family to escape to Hong Kong.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Dylan and his late father, from whom he inherited the Decepticons as a "client". He actually takes this to confusingly extreme measures, suggesting they kill their Autobot prisoners and fighting tooth and nail for the Cons to win, even though it's pretty clear the Autobots are winning and they don't really care much for his deal with them to begin with so he'd be safer just letting the Autobots win. Then Fridge Brilliance sets in and you realize that he'd rather die than have the Cons lose, because after what he did he'd be considered a war criminal for assisting aliens in enslaving his own species. Comic backstory goes even further, revealing he craves power (to the extent that the look in his eyes reminds Soundwave of Megatron and gives him a measure of respect) and the idea of being the middleman boss to a planet of slaves, answering directly to Megatron is very tempting to him.
  • TRON: Legacy: The Administrative Program Jarvis will salute whoever looks to be in power. Finally, Clu has enough of Jarvis and casually de-rezzes him without breaking a stride.
  • Superman II has Lex Luthor join Zod to help him against Superman, asking in exchange for control of Australia.
  • Goyas Ghosts: Lorenzo is a complex case. He represents the invading French forces that cruelly oppress the Spanish, but he also represents modern, enlightened ideas in opposition to the Spanish Inquisition whose leaders he persecutes.
  • In Lion Of The Desert (1981), a delegation of these are sent to persuade Omar Mukhtar to end his Hopeless War against the Italian occupiers. Omar Mukhtar gently mocks them and sends them on their way without harm.
  • Edge of Darkness: Johann was a follower of the Quisling, having gone over to the Germans in 1940 when they invaded Norway. He regrets it.
  • Volhynia. The Ukrainian administrator of the village serves Poles, Russians, Germans, and finally Ukrainians with the same level of shameless flattery and enthusiasm.

  • Harry Turtledove's Ruled Britannia is loaded with 'em.
  • An actual psychological disorder in the Zombie Apocalypse novel World War Z (written by Max Brooks, son of Mel); "quislings" are humans who have nervous breakdowns and begin behaving like zombies. Unfortunately for them, the genuine article can tell the difference...
    • They also may have aided in tons of confusion and urban legends about zombies amongst the survivors.
  • Any voluntary Controller from Animorphs, but Hedrick Chapman deserves a special mention. You know, being the one who paraded Loren before the Yeerks and said, "Hey, lookit this! I gotta planet of six billion just waitin' for ya!" and all. Elfangor, Loren and the Yeerk he was trying to help, Sub-visser Thirty-two, all leave him to be sucked into a black hole. However, the Ellimist saved him and wiped his memory. When the Yeerks finally make it to Earth, he and his wife are infested, but only cooperate to keep their daughter, Melissa, free and uninfested. He becomes a Middle-Management Mook and the Animorphs' go-to guy when they need someone to threaten or torture. Ahh, karma.
    • There's also Taylor, a former Alpha Bitch who lost her looks and her popularity in a fire. Desperate to regain the life she had, Taylor agrees to become a voluntary Controller in exchange for the Yeerks using their advanced technology to make her a Cyborg and restore her beauty. Unfortunately for Taylor, the Yeerk chosen to infest her is not exactly a pillar of mental stability...
    • David could be considered a subversion, as he threatens to betray the team to the Yeerks on a few occasions but never actually does it. It's heavily implied he's bluffing and hates the Yeerks as much as the Animorphs do.
    • And from VISSER there's Rich Huntley, the first voluntary Human-Controller. Edriss kills him for his trouble.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Voldemort installs a few of these to re-enforce his reign:
    • Severus Snape appears to be this, controlling Hogwarts on the behalf of the Death Eaters. Subverted when he was revealed to be a reverse mole.
    • Pius Thicknesse controls the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and after Rufus Scrimgeour's death, the entire Ministry of Magic. In the books, this is the result of Mind Control but in the movies, it is implied to be voluntary.
    • Dolores Umbridge does not have any official ties with Voldemort, but she gleefully uses her post to enforce his Fantastic Racism by running a Kangaroo Court to give Muggle-borns a choice between surrendering their wands and a Fate Worse than Death. (Word of God claims this earned her a life sentence in Azkaban after Voldemort's defeat.) In one Bad Future in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, she is reinstated as Hogwarts headmistress and openly supports Voldemort.
    • The Inquisitorial Squad, a number of Slytherin students who gleefully aided Umbridge in her oppression of the school and who were given some measure of authority (e.g. the power to give or deduct points) in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Shift the Ape, from the final book in the Narnia series, fits the above description perfectly.
  • Saruman in The Lord of the Rings, though he intends to be The Starscream.
    • Lotho Sackville-Baggins, in Saruman's Shire. With the completion of the Scouring, it's revealed that Wormtongue murdered him on Saruman's orders.
    • The Silmarillion in the First Age has Maeglin, the Evil Nephew of Turgon, King of Gondolin, who is in love with Turgon's daughter Idril. When he is captured by Morgoth, under threat of torture he reveals the location of Gondolin and is told he will be rewarded with rule of the city and Idril. Despite the threat, Maeglin still doesn't warn the city of Morgoth's attack and during the Fall of Gondolin tries to kill his cousin's son Earendil. However Earendil's father Tuor kills Maeglin.
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night the American protagonist is asked to become The Quisling for the Nazis by an American agent to pass information to America. The book is about what being a collaborator does to his soul (and life), even though he knows he is doing it for a good cause.
  • The Ganymede Takeover, a 1967 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick and Ray Nelson, has several such characters (as the alien invaders know this is the only effective way they can rule Earth), racist landowner Gus Swenesgard being the best example, though at one point even a Resistance hero is offered the job (and is tempted for a moment). Subverted in that when the aliens are finally defeated, the resistance set up Swenesgard to be their puppet ruler until democracy is restored. That is, if they ever intend to restore democracy...
  • In E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth novels, Quisling is a term often used to refer to Humans under Kurian rule.
  • The Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs in The Looking-Glass Wars were loyal to Redd as soon as she took over. When Alyss resumes power, they switch loyalties again, and unfortunately weren't punished. This is rectified in the sequel, Seeing Redd. Jack of Diamonds is seen to have been imprisoned for treason. He does manage to escape and tries to join up with Queen Redd. This time, he quickly outlives his usefulness.
  • In Robert Silverberg's The Alien Years, a nerdy hacker breaks into the conquering aliens' computer system, but instead of trying to use it against them, he offers them his help in return for power and a harem.
  • Senator Viqi Shesh from the New Jedi Order willing works with the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, though it would be a stretch to say she was loyal to them her first loyalty was always to herself—she merely wanted to ensure her survival and position by teaming up with what looked like the winning side). This came back to bite her in the end, as the Vong, horrible as they were, actually had a rather strict code of conduct and found an obviously self-serving traitor repellant. Shesh found herself constantly scrambling to keep herself indispensable to the Warmaster lest she be unceremoniously killed off.
    • And when she ultimately finds herself stuck between the Vong (who don't really need her anymore) and the New Republic (who she betrayed), she Takes a Third Option by giving herself a Disney Villain Death.
    • Most of the Peace Brigade members, they collaborate with the Yuuzhan Vong by handing over high ranking officials, and Jedi. But to the Vong, the term peace is synonymous for submission, as they already plan on enslaving the Peace Brigade when they win the war.
    • The same series has Prime Minister Molierre Cundertol of the planet Bakura betray his own people to the Ssi-Ruuk, a reptilian race that had already attempted an invasion of his world once before earlier in the Star Wars timeline (the novel Truce at Bakura). In exchange, the Ssi-Ruuk transferred his life into a new human-like droid body so he could live forever. They plan to use the population of Bakura as slaves to breed so that they can have a supply of humans whose life can be sucked out of their bodies and into Ssi-Ruuk war machines. Cundertol even tries to justify it to his people by saying that they can become far more powerful as machines, especially if they are running Ssi-Ruuk cities. Of course, no one buys this argument. In the end, it's revealed that the Ssi-Ruuk have themselves been infiltrated by the Yuuzhan Vong and are unknowingly being manipulated by their undercover agent. This agent reveals himself to Cundertol and kills him for his failure.
  • In Taylor Caldwell's early-1950's novel, The Devil's Advocate, the senior administrator of the Eastern Seaboard in a Communist-ruled America was secretly the head of La Résistance. He makes a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the book, allowing himself to be assassinated so as to provide the scapegoat and poster boy for the downfallen dictatorship for Americans after the Second Revolution.
  • Lord Pryderi, in the final installment of The Chronicles of Prydain, has always been a loyal ally of Prince Gwydion...only to show up for the council of war and declare that the only sane option is to join the enemy. Which he does. He gets Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves when, on Arawn's orders, he attempts to invade Caer Dallben and the place itself destroys him.
  • Andrew in Harald, though his motives are never made clear.
  • Some of the cooperating zeks in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, like the cooks, like to screw over their fellow prisoners for their own gain.
  • In Rick Cook's Limbo System, Aubrey is convinced of the greatness of colonists and helps them in their initial attack.
  • The Tomorrow Series has Major Harvey. When he first appears, in The Dead of the Night, he seems to be the heroic leader of the La Résistance group Harvery's Heroes, only to be later revealed to be an enemy officer who let his group get massacred. In The Third Day, The Frost he is put in charge of Stratton Prison, and killed by Robyn Taking You with Me during the group's escape.
  • A few positive examples in A Song of Ice and Fire; when Daenarys starts conquering/liberating cities founded on slavery, she unsurprisingly gets quite a few people (whether ex-slaves or freemen with a conscience,) who fully support her regime, with a few particularly useful ones joining her council. Equally unsurprisingly, these people are viewed as quislings by the deposed masters, and many acts of murder and sabotage are carried out by the latter, who consider themselves La Résistance.
    • One of them, Skahaz mo Kandaq a.k.a. the Shavepate (the head of Daenerys' Secret Police), however, is hinted to be far more complex than that. Depending on which theory you buy, he may be preparing to designate himself Dany's successor or become a full-blown Starscream.
    • Roose Bolton, who betrayed the Northern kingdom to the Lannisters and personally murdered his king Robb Stark, is a definitely negative example. Walder Frey did the same with the Riverlands at The Red Wedding, but failed: Littlefinger was appointed their Lord Paramount instead of him. However, his second son Emmon is made Lord of Riverrun and many of his descendants get marriages with Lannisters for this. Unfortunately, this has backfired with the Boltons and the Freys, as they are despised throughout the North and the Riverlands and Walder's descendants are getting murdered by the angry relatives of those they killed.
    • A more positive example during Aegon's conquest. When Aegon began conquering the Riverlands, many of the River Lords joined him. After Black Harren Hoare and House Hoare were wiped out, Lord Edmyn Tully was made Lord Paramount of the Trident. However, Harren the Black was a cruel tyrant who had beggared the Riverlands and worked thousands to death building Harrenhal, and his grandfather Harwyn Handhand Hoare had invaded the Riverlands.
    • When Aegon wiped out House Gardener, the rulers of the Reach, their castle of Highgarden was surrendered to him by its stewards, the Tyrells, and Aegon made them rulers of the Reach for this.
    • In a much, much more ominous example, a sample chapter from The Winds of Winter heavily implies that Euron Greyjoy has sold out the entire continent to the Others.
  • Magnificent Bastard Melisande Shahrizai (and later Isidore D'Aiglemort) of Kushiel's Legacy, who plots with a hostile foreign power to take over her homeland long before the actual invasion even takes place.
  • In the Resistance Trilogy by Clive Egleton, set in a Soviet-occupied Britain, the only named antagonists encountered by the hero are British, not Soviets.
  • Dragon Outcast has SiMevolant, who upon becoming Tyr, opens the Lavadome to the Wrymmaster's forces, selling his people out to slavery in exchange for a cushy position as their Puppet King. Unsurprisingly, this triggers a rebellion that results in his own death.
  • The Salvation War: Pantheicide gives us a non-villainous (or at least less-villainous) example. Micheal-lan is convinced that Earth will conquer heaven and seizes control specifically so that he can surrender before (more) nukes get launched.
  • For Your Safety has a character actually named Anna Quiyang Quisling. Before the Groupmind rebellion she was a Swedish writer of Robo Sexual erotica, who was offered the chance to write pro-Groupmind propaganda. In exchange she was given a morph companion to act out her fantasies with, and keep the billions of humans who want her dead from killing her.
  • At the end of Guns of the Dawn, when the war is over, Mr Northway, formerly Mayor-Governor of Chalcaster for the king of Lascanne, continues in that role despite the change in leadership. His motivations are reasonably good — someone has to be in charge, and continuity of government will avert dangerous instability. It doesn't do wonders for his public image, but then, people didn't think much of him anyway.
  • In The Shelter one starts to wonder why they even keep Ricky around when he constantly betrays and tries to murder his family over and over again.
  • Eurico the Presbyter: Several Visigothic nobles such as Sisebuto, Ebas and Count Julian assist the Umayyads invade Visigothic Spain into conquering Hispania for pure self-interests or personal grudges and not because they believe in Islam, which is why their allies hold them in contempt as "infidels".
  • The Bible often makes a point of how Roman tax collectors are seen as the worst kind of people due to this. And yet even they are not beyond redemption.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • Councilor Na'Far is a highly reluctant example of this trope, being the figurehead for the Narn puppet regime after the Centauri conquers them. He believes that by willingly cooperating with the invaders he may be able to stifle some of the worst abuses of his people.
    • And Londo ends up being an incredibly rare completely sympathetic example of the trope, as his hellish years ruling the Centauri as a puppet for the Drakh are played as an unambiguous Heroic Sacrifice and an atonement for the crimes in which he was previously complicit.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978): Count Baltar was an archetypal Quisling to the Cylons, who bore most of the responsibility for the colonies' destruction, until his Heel–Face Turn around halfway through.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • There's Gaius Baltar, who continued his role as President of the Colonies after the Cylons invaded New Caprica and willfully collaborated with them throughout the subsequent occupation. Considering his character he most likely did this simply out of self-interest, although at one point he did have a gun pointed at his head when he refused to sign off on an order for mass executions of civilians. Went through a Karma Houdini when the revolution ended by joining the Cylon Fleet, but fate eventually caught up to him when he was later re-captured by the Colonials on another planet. After interrogation, he was then put on trial for treason and mass-murder (although, ironically, not for his role in the first Cylon genocide). And acquitted, the Magnificent Bastard!
    • Felix Gaeta continued to serve as Baltar's presidential aide even after the Cylons arrived, in order to act as The Mole. Not even La Résistance, who knew they had a mole, know he was it. Gaeta came very close to being killed by a barely-technically-legal Kangaroo Court until the truth about his past was revealed at the last second. (He didn't even try to explain.)
  • Blake's 7: Ro in the episode "Horizon". He learns better.
  • The Colbert Report:
    • Stephen Colbert uses this an awful lot for a talk show host.
    • In preparation for the imminent Rapture, Colbert advertised (on his show) shirts reading "Welcome Jesus!" And just in case, the other side of the shirt reads "Welcome 12th Imam!"note 
    • At the end of a commercial break, he expressed his hopes that the audience members at home were still alive and had not been slaughtered by a psychotic murderer lurking right behind them. But just in case, "Welcome murderers!"
    • After the Phoenix lander touched down on Mars, Colbert became worried about enslavement by Martian microbes, and dedicated a segment to ingratiating himself to them, just in case. "Martian microbes, remember who your friends are."
  • Colony has Proxy Snyder, who willingly signed up with the puppet government set up by the "Hosts", becoming the head of it within the Las Angeles bloc, because he honestly believes that fighting back is impossible and that collaborating is the only way to ensure survival.
  • Crisis on Earth-X: When Nazis invade Earth-1, one of their collaborators is none other than Earth-1's Reverse-Flash who has no problem helping Nazis conquer his own dimension. Unlike most examples of this trope, he isn't motivated by power or self-preservation, but is implied to do it for the kicks.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", an old woman and her daughter hand characters over to the Daleks and are rewarded with food.
    • Later in "The Daleks' Master Plan" there is Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System, who plots with the Daleks and delegates from the Outer Galaxies to take over Earth while planning to betray the Daleks and take control of the Universe. He is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves by the Daleks, who seem to have been plotting against all their allies. The fact he is the only one of the delegates who is betraying their world is pointed out by Zephon, who calls him the supreme traitor. There is also the Head of the SSS, Karlton, who may be planning to betray Chen.
    • Subverted in "The Krotons", in which Selris's initial support of the Krotons is because he genuinely thinks they're benevolent and his later reluctance to attack them is because of a realistic appreciation of his people's technological inferiority and the Krotons' utter ruthlessness. By contrast, the would-be heroic resistance leader Eelek is transparently a power-hungry maniac.
    • The Controller in "Day of the Daleks" is explicitly called a Quisling by the Doctor in reference to his collaboration with the Daleks. He finally helps the Doctor return to his own time to prevent the Invasion, getting a Redemption Equals Death treatment.
    • Varan in "The Mutants" works with the imperialists against his own people, killing the Earth Administrator before he can grant Solos their independence and scornfully hunting his mutated countrymen who he refers to as "mutts", adopting the slurs of the imperial Overlords.
    • Gatherer Hade in "The Sun Makers" fits the trope to a tee: With humanity enslaved by the Usurian Corporation, Hade delights in lording it over the workers while acting in an obsequious manner towards the Usurian representative the Collector. When a revolution breaks out, they quickly give him a Disney Villain Death.
    • The Castellan in the serial "The Invasion of Time" gets the chance to serve as Quisling to three despots; firstly the Doctor (when it seems that he's gone mad with power and taken over Gallifrey), then the Vardans (when they invade, seemingly with the Doctor's collaboration) and then the Sontarans (when the Doctor, having tricked the Vardans into thinking he was a collaborator, deals with them only to discover that the Sontarans were manipulating the Vardans).
    • In the novelization of "Remembrance of the Daleks", it's seen that the Daleks themselves use the term to refer to Dalek allies, who see themselves as Les Collaborateurs.
    • In "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel", Rose Tyler's dad in a parallel reality is a high-ranking official in Lumic's company. When he's captured by the Resistance, he reveals that he's actually working as The Mole, being the insider responsible for sending them information on the Cybermen.
    • Insufferable Genius Luke Rattigan, working for the Sontaran Empire, in hopes of fulfilling his ambition of a world of geniuses. He and his followers would have been Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves in a naval gunnery practice — had to pay the ultimate price for species-treason...
    • In "The God Complex", the Tivolians have this as their hat — their cities are designed to be comfortable to invading armies, their anthem is titled "Glory to [Insert Name Here]", etc.
  • Eerie, Indiana: Dash X has a tendency to collaborate for the right price, though he never works out as he would like:
    • In "No Brain, No Pain", he assists Eunice Danforth capture her husband Charles Furnell and thereby gain access to the Brainalyzer. She gives Dash $1,000 to look the other way while she fries Charles, Marshall, and Simon's brains. However, he has a change of heart when he remembers what Marshall asked him earlier: how would he feel if he was the one who needed help?
    • In "Zombies in P.J.s", Dash teams up with the Donald in his Subliminal Seduction of the Eerie townspeople in exchange for a piece of the pie. However, he switches sides and helps Marshall and Simon defeat the Donald when he discovers that he was never going to get any money.
  • Farscape: Has a number of examples, especially Zhaan's unnamed lover, who she murdered when he became a Quisling for the Peacekeepers, and Volmae in "Thank God It's Friday... Again", again for the Peacekeepers.
  • Game of Thrones: Roose Bolton is a textbook example: He is a leader who rose to power for personal gain and self-preservation by betraying his king and countrymen and, also, by enforcing the will of an external power.
  • House: House accuses Cuddy of being this for Vogler in Season 1, even name-dropping the original. Vogler buys his way into the hospital board's chair with a $100,000,000 donation, and when he starts using his position for ethically questionable practices, the board (and Cuddy) adopt a policy of appeasement so as not to lose the money. Cuddy eventually comes around when Vogler starts firing board members for voting against his motions.
  • The Outpost: Higgs, the man who replaces Withers as the Marshal after the latter is removed from his post, acts as this once the Prime Order moves in to take over the outpost, sucking up to them at every opportunity so that he can stay in power. When the Order is kicked out, he tries to flee with as much gold as he can carry, but is intercepted and killed by the reinstated Withers.
  • Parks and Recreation: The municipal government of Pawnee is implied to have a problem with doing this. At different points of history, the town's slogan has been "Welcome German / Vietnamese / Taliban soldiers!"
  • The Revolution (2006): In the episode "Treason & Betrayal", Benedict Arnold. He started out by fighting for the Americans. But he went to the British hoping to get gold and recognition.
  • Secret Army: The staff of the Cafe Candide pretend to be this. Actually, they're members of La Résistance group Lifeline.
  • Sliders: "Asylum" has its own word for this: Thatchers. An Alternate Universe version of Margaret Thatcher "welcomed its new Kromagg overlords", and when they were driven out, the word for collaborators was inspired from her name (similar to this trope, probably because it also sounds much like "traitor/treachery" in English). The moral struggles of a "Thatcher" is a plot point of the episode in question.
  • Snowpiercer: Audrey in Season 2. Initially, she acts as The Mole, using Wilford's infatuation with her to gain information for Layton and the rest of Snowpiercer's leadership. However, she eventually decides she likes the comforts that come with being his paramour, and legitimately switches sides. She pays for this at the end of the season, when Layton's group hijack the engine and take her hostage.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • A number of episodes involve Bajoran collaborators with the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor:
      • "Necessary Evil": Vaatrik, whose murder Odo was originally brought to Terok Nor to investigate, served as a middleman between Gul Dukat and at least eight other collaborators. Kira Nerys was sent to steal the list of informants, but when he walked in on her searching for it, she had to just kill him instead. Years later, his widow gets her hands on the list again and uses it to blackmail them for huge sums of money, apparently the Cardassians paid their collaborators pretty well
      • "The Collaborator" has Vedek Bareil Antos, one of two candidates for the religious office of the Kai (equivalent of the pope), be implicated as a collaborator in a notorious Kendra Valley Massacre, wherein the Cardassians slaughtered an entire resistance cell in their hidden stronghold, including the son of the previous Kai, the beloved Opaka. The actual collaborator was Kai Opaka herself, who knew their location because of her son and gave up the guerrillas to avert a Cardassian purge of the area's entire population. The truth is so shocking and damaging to the memory of this beloved figure, that Bareil lets his political rival (who only knows he's the one who covered it up) blackmail him into withdrawing rather than let anyone else know the secret of who had actually collaborated.
      • "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" deals with "comfort women", Bajoran women forced into Sex Slavery to Cardassian officers, who were sometimes accused of this (particularly since their families got better treatment by the occupiers as a result). The episode also features a male Bajoran whose job is apparently to "recruit" them.
    • Dukat basically serves as this to Cardassia, though the Dominion never actually invaded; the Cardassians joined more or less willingly. Damar, his replacement, is initially far from up to the task of playing politics with the Domionion for Cardassia's advantage, and he sinks into despair and self-loathing as a result. By the time he realizes they've truly become "an occupied people" he finds the motivation he needs to discretely organize a resistance within the Cardassian military and civilian population to fight back.
    • Legate Broca, a last-minute replacement for Damar after the latter vacates the position by forming La Résistance, is completely loyal to the Dominion, even in spite of the Cardassian people rising up against the Dominion and having their cities destroyed because of it. Both Weyoun and the female Changeling treat him with nothing but contempt, and he is unceremoniously executed when they decide to preempt any potential Heel–Face Turn on his part. Ironically, the guards taking him outside is the momentary breach in security the resistance needs to launch their attack and storm the headquarters.
  • The X-Files. The Syndicate is made up of people, such as the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man, who are aware that the alien invasion is coming, and have worked out a deal with the invaders to help them conquer Earth and enslave humanity in exchange for power. Fox Mulder's father Bill was a member and the only one who opposed their decision to collaborate. The reason Fox's sister disappeared was that she and other conspirators' loved ones were used as collateral by the aliens to ensure there was no backstabbing from their human Quislings. The Syndicate's actions throughout the series are preparations for the invasion.

  • "The Vicar of Bray" cheerfully recounts the Title Character's unending deference to whoever is power.
    And this is law, I will maintain
    Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
    That whatsoever King may reign,
    I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!
  • Bill Bailey notes in his song "Insect Nation" that crabs will be the "sideways Quislings" during the inevitable Bug War, joining with the insects despite not being insects. He also adds that the spiders will also side with the insects even though they're not insects either.

  • The Bible: Jeremiah the prophet was considered this by his fellow Israelites when he (or rather, God through the prophet) advised the kingdom of Judah to surrender to the Babylonians so that their lives would be spared and that Jerusalem would not be destroyed. Unfortunately, they ignored his advice, and thus Jerusalem was sacked, and the people were deported to Babylon, where they remained until the time of the Medo-Persian Empire.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Kingdom Adventure: Magistrate Pitts is helping to bring Lumia under Zordock's control, and owes his position as Magistrate to Zordock in the first place.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Paizo Pathfinder campaign, "Rise of the Runelords," Mokmurian, leader of the giants was this to Karzoug as giants were viewed as slaves in ancient Thassilon, not as generals or lords of some sort. This doesn't stop him from doing his level best to wipe out humanity so Karzoug can have lots of souls.
  • How Chaos cults starts on any world in Warhammer 40,000. Each Chaos God promises power in return for loyalty and worship, although the power they grant you is often at a high cost, and most don't survive it. This is why the Inquisition works so hard to root out chaos since there's always one guy who'd want the Dark God's more tangible gifts (as compared to the less pleasant Imperial faith). Chaos being what it is, they tend to regret it.
    • Also, Gue'vasa is the Tau name for humans who have turned their back on the Imperium of Man to serve the Tau Empire. They are mostly the descendants of Imperial Guardsmen who were abandoned in Tau territory after the Damocles Crusade, but occasionally, Imperial border worlds will rebel against Imperial control and secede to the expanding Tau Empire. This is used in meta to justify skirmish battles between the two factions, as they fight over control over the worlds; the Taros Campaign is a prominent example of this.

    Video Games 
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • In Chapter 3, with the help of the Bounty Hunter, the Sith Empire has managed to convince the entire Corellian Council, including the Prime Minister, to join them with the promise of making their elected offices lifetime appointments with absolute power. However, the Corellian people are not the kind that would willingly roll over for foreign invaders (it's Han Solo and Wedge Antilles' homeworld after all). They rise up against the traitorous council and the Sith occupiers, with Republic and Jedi eventually arriving to retake the world, leading to a very Decisive Battle that the Republic wins. Several quests on the Republic side (both class and faction based) involve chasing down and capturing the traitors so that they can face justice. The Imperial planetary storyline in particular has the player working alongside Darbin Sull, a particularly slimy politician looking to become the new Prime Minister.
    • Averted in the Jedi Consular storyline on the planet Balmorra, a Republic ally that has been under Sith occupation since the end of the previous war. The Sith authorities publicly claim that Balmorra's President is still in charge and that all their orders and laws for the planet come from him. They also claim he is too ill to make public appearances. However, we soon find out that he has been frozen in carbonite and that the Sith drove him insane to the point of becoming a confused, rambling man. Luckily, when he is rescued, he is declared mentally incapacitated and this allows a member of his Cabinet (who escaped the invasion) to assume office and lead the newly liberated Balmorra.
  • Franz from Suikoden III is a rare sympathetic example, throwing himself into soldiering for Harmonia, hoping they would treat his village better (those conquered by Harmonia are treated like cannon fodder, at best) and he kept going even when he was tired, hungry and had the hate of everyone he was fighting for.
    • Harmonia had conquered Franz's village before he was even born, and actually had a specific system in place for conquered groups to achieve the kind of elevation in status Franz hoped to achieve for his village if they proved themselves useful enough. And in the end, there's a good chance he succeeded, since by switching to the heroes' side he helped Sasarai regain his position as second in command of Harmonia and stopped Luc's destructive plans.
  • Suikoden IV has Snowe Vingerhut and his father. Snowe is portrayed as somewhat more sympathetic, as he negotiates for Razril to be occupied rather than risk a war with forces capable of blowing up an island, and is unaware of just how bad the occupation is thanks to be distracted by a false position. His father, on the other hand, is a straight-up Dirty Coward who ignores the atrocities committed by the occupying forces and stays holed up in his mansion.
  • Suikoden V has Lord De Beers of Leclar, who supported whoever happened to have the most power in the Senate at any given moment. During the Falenan Civil War, he ditches his post at Leclar to hide in the fortress town of Doraat, then leaves there once the Loyalist Army approaches to cower in Stormfist. Eventually, when the Loyalist Army approaches again, he flees the country altogether. Notably, both sides of the conflict regard him with scorn and dismiss him as unimportant.
  • Doctor Wallace Breen in Half-Life 2, though the Seven Hour War was an extremely bloody affair. Somehow, he managed to negotiate the surrender on the behalf of the United Nations and was appointed as the ruler of Earth. This is on top of undertaking the extremely dangerous experiment with a pure sample and ramping the equipment up beyond normal safe levels, causing the Black Mesa Incident. Then Gordon showed up again. Given Breen is partially responsible for causing the Combine to invade Earth (though it's up in the air if it was an intended outcome), it's not clear if his sucking up is just an attempt to curry favor with the invaders or if he genuinely believes his negotiations with the Combine are the only thing helping mankind and if we don't obey the Combine they'll simply choose to eradicate us.
  • Turning Point: Fall of Liberty: In this Alternate History, where the Nazis and Imperial Japanese (who are off-screen) invade the United States, we have James Edward Stevenson. The Nazis managed to capture both the President and Vice President during the attack on Washington and announce that Stevenson, who was Speaker of the House, is now "President". His first act is to call on all American military forces to stand down, but the military simply ignores him and continues fighting alongside with the resistance movement anyway. Later in the game, the resistance storms The White House in an attempt to kill him, they succeed. This act causes the Nazis to realize that the American Resistance is growing out of control for them.
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • Marquis Ondore. His ruling fief isn't actually Archadian territory, as it remains neutral, but Ondore is infamously known for being pro-Archadian. On the other hand, however, he extensively funds resistance groups across Ivalice against the empire in a dangerous double-game, which turns into all-out war when another empire exploits the situation.
    • Basch's brother Noah, better known by his title Judge Gabranth.
    • Vossler counts being a little bit of a variation since he sells out the party to the Archadians on the premise of Princess Ashe becoming a puppet queen until Larsa took over and then having the two work together to free Dalmasca. And then once things go to hell on the Leviathan, he's killed in the explosion. The funny thing is that plan of his would've probably worked, eventually.
  • The Dirty Coward Count Borghen from Final Fantasy II. He allowed the Palamecians to overtake Fynn, is held in contempt by said Palamecians, ultimately an inept foe, but acts as the game's first major antagonist and manages to kill Josef.
  • Fehn Digler (not to be confused with Heartwarming Orphan Fehn), the newscaster in Beyond Good & Evil, is a helpless suck-up to the Alpha Sections. He even has a personal contingent of Alpha guards! At the end of the game, when IRIS spurs Hillys into an open revolt against the Alpha Sections, and the Alphas are on their last legs, Fehn immediately starts sucking up to them, declaring the revolt a victory for the "proud journalistic profession."
  • Homefront: The Greater Korean Republic (a united Korea ruled by the North) has annexed most of Southeast Asia and now turns its attention to a weakened United States as its next conquest. They take all the States west of the Mississippi River but are finally halted at the river by the U.S. military. It's implied that the GKR has set up some kind of puppet regime in the occupied western States based in California, but we never encounter them in-game. The most we see of them comes from the game's website, where a video shows a former California state legislator talking to the local resistance forces about his experience with the invaders. Of course this particular guy is loyal to the resistance so he might have been a The Mole. We never see any other American quislings on-screen, although one normal collaborator shows up at one point.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Saren Arterius in Mass Effect, who honestly believes the invasion of the Reapers is inevitable and that helping them take over the Galaxy will prevent pointless sacrifices. There's a bit of Mind Control involved there, but it was never made clear exactly where Saren's interests ended and Sovereign's began.
    • Quisling is mentioned by name in comparison to Ashley's grandfather, who surrendered his colony to an alien army rather than see millions of civilians die in a pointless Last Stand. It's rather clear that he was a scapegoat, but the incident prevents his granddaughter from rising higher in the ranks than a glorified security guard until Captain Anderson takes her on board the Normandy. Given how young she became a Gunnery Sergeant, and by Mass Effect 3, a Lieutenant-Commander, she seems to have gotten past this.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Councillor Donnel Udina decides to stage a coup at the Citadel with the aid of Cerberus, and have all his fellow Councillors assassinated. His motivations are left deliberately ambiguous (and he's fatally shot by Shepard/their allies in the final confrontation, so there's no asking him): Indoctrination, ambition, fear, and frustration at his fellow councilors' refusal to help the people of Earth, all are discussed as possible options.
    • The purpose of Reaper Indoctrination is to turn its victims into this. It's revealed to have happened to most of Cerberus in the third game, as well as the leaders of the Batarian Hegemony; the former disrupting allied resistance efforts and the latter laying down arms and letting themselves be curb-stomped by the Reapers. There's even an indoctrinated hanar at one point, who attempts to use a virus to disable the mostly automated defences of his homeworld.
  • More BioWare examples from Knights of the Old Republic
    • Chuundar on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. So long as he remains High Chieftain, he's all too glad to sell his own people to Czerka, arrange for his brother Zaalbar's exile and spread lies that his father has gone mad in order to get the party to do his dirty work. The player can either help overthrow him (Light Side points) or help keep him in power (Dark Side points).
    • A side quest on the neutral world of Manaan reveals that the Sith have lured a number of young Selkath (the local species) to their embassy. The Sith have convinced them that their cause is just so that they can help overthrow the Manaan government and replace it with a Sith-controlled one with the Sith-trained Selkath as the puppet leaders. The player can find them in the embassy and show how the Sith are lying (Light Side points) or just kill them (Dark Side points). This comes in very handy later as the player can use the evidence against the Sith to be acquitted at their trial for raiding the embassy. The Selkath understandably aren't happy that the Sith tried to stage a coup.
  • The sequel, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, has Queen Talia of Onderon, but it's more complicated. She's a staunch Republic ally and the Big Good of the Onderon questline, but her cousin and rival for the throne paints her as this trope and many think that she's selling out the planet as a result. If you do side with her, Kreia says that Onderon will prosper but ultimately lose its unique culture as a result.
  • BioWare apparently likes to play with this one, as they did it again in Dragon Age II. Seamus, son of Viscount Dumar, is a big fan of the Qunari, who seem to be invading (or at least, that's what everyone thought, given that when Qunari show up someplace, it's typically to invade it; they've just been sitting around the docks, though, not doing much invading these past few years). Despite being in a position of relative power, being the son of the guy in charge of the whole city and all that, Seamus's conversations with his father amount more to a teenager arguing about rock-and-roll than any serious suggestions of joining the Qunari before things get bloody. However, he does end up being an unwitting pawn in the plan of a certain anti-Qunari faction, and ends up getting killed in the process. In a twist, the Qunari avenge him as one of their own, rather than spitting on his corpse as belonging to an honorless coward.
  • In MechQuest, Kingadent Slugwrath turns out to have been selling out the planet of Lore and Soluna City to the Shadowscythe, sabotaging the Soluna Defense Force and seeking to destroy their leader, Odessa Pureheart, and turning a blind eye to Sys-Zero's kidnapping and assimilation by the Shadowscythe. After you kick Slugwrath's ass in the final battle of the first chapter, he attempts to escape in the head of his mech, but runs out of fuel, crashes, and is overrun by Shadowscythe. He ends up as a still-living head in a jar on the desk of the head of EvilCorp, who looks very much like Zorbak, as he muses on how at least he got the immortality he'd always wanted.
  • Nufai the Skinwalker from Universe at War. As he comments himself, it's the sort of attitude that left him alive when The Hierarchy butchered the rest of his species.
  • Warcraft:
    • Gul'dan, Blackhand and the other members of the Shadow Council in Rise of the Horde and Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Unlike the other orc leaders, who were tricked into making a pact with demons, they were aware of Kil'Jaeden's deceit and helped him transform the orcs into bloodthirsty monsters in exchange for (political and magical) power.
    • King Perenolde of Alterac in Warcraft II, Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal. During the orc invasion, he helped The Horde attack other human kingdoms so his own nation would stay relatively untouched.
    • Dar'Khan Drathir in Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy. He's the one who betrayed his homeland Quel'Thalas by letting Arthas in and have his people slaughtered by the soon-to-be Lich King.
  • A small-time version of this can be found in Jacoby Drexelhand, Korthos villager turned Devourer cultist and Sahuagin collaborator in the introductory Korthos Island missions from Dungeons & Dragons Online. While most Korthos villagers who joined the Devourer cult were kidnapped and forcibly indoctrinated into it, Jacoby gave himself willingly to the Devourer. When you confront him during the instance "The Collaborator," he tells you that the Sahuagin will kill anyone who doesn't convert and that he's just watching out for his own hide. You promptly prove him wrong by fighting off his allies, tracking him down, and sending him into Khyber's embrace.
    • Following Jacoby's death, his body is taken to the Decrepit Catacombs by the cultists of the Devourer and raised as an undead wight, who you then have to fight in the finale of the instance "Necromancer's Doom."
  • Lionwhyte in Brütal Legend justifies his mass-enslavement of humanity as a means of brokering a beneficial peace with the demon factions under Doviculus' rule, and chews out Ironheade for putting all of humanity in danger. Ironheade counters by calling out Lionwhyte's selfishness in restricting humanity's passion and potential.
  • Either Papa Khan or Regis could qualify in Fallout: New Vegas. Papa Khan is so keen for vengeance against the NCR that he's willing to enter into an alliance with The Legion, despite their practice of backstabbing every tribe who sides with them, press-ganging all the worthy men into their military and enslaving or killing the rest. Regis will take control of the Great Khans if Papa is assassinated, and will agree to a truce with the NCR in order to aid them against the Legion. Papa Khan however can be convinced to break off the alliance if you convince enough of his advisers to speak out against the alliance or disgrace the frumentarii in their camp.
    • Fallout 3 gives us Anna Holt, a minor character who joins the Enclave after being captured by them. Impressed by their technology, she tells them all she knows about Project Purity, which your father died trying to keep out of the Enclave's hands. Players looking to get a little payback will still receive negative karma for rewarding them as a traitor deserves though, as the game doesn't account for the betrayal in the character's karma attribute.
  • In EarthBound, Pokey joins Giygas fairly early in the game, and acts as a thorn in Ness's side for the first half of the game. He spends most of the rest of the game on the run until he finally shows up in the endgame as Giygas's Dragon. After Giygas's defeat, he manages to escape and becomes the Big Bad of Mother 3. Though leftover data in Mother 3 shows that at some point, Itoi planned to have Porky try to resurrect Giygas using the Masked Man's body as a vessel. Though whether this was out of continued loyalty or simple nihilism is up for debate.
  • Happens repeatedly throughout the various Super Robot Wars titles:
    • Neo Zeon jumped at the chance to help the Balmarians in Shin Super Robot Wars, as the one and only means to ensure a future for mankind.
    • Paptimus Scirroco and Shapiro Keats ally with the Balmarians in Super Robot Wars Alpha. In Alpha 3, Shapiro returns assisting the Muge Empire while ZAFT throws in their lot with the alien invaders and is directly responsible for the Earth's defensive lines breaching.
  • In Super Mario Bros., the Goombas appear to have been a whole race of quislings. Most sources say they were once subjects of the Mushroom Kingdom, but for unknown reasons, turned against them and sided with Bowser, becoming part of his army. (It's not true with all of them; Mario has allied himself with a few of them in his time.)
  • In Conquest: Frontier Wars Admiral Smirnoff allies with the Mantis loyalists in exchange for ruling earth as their vassal. Naturally in the bad ending the Mantis decide to destroy earth instead, him with it.
  • Of Orcs and Men occasionally pits the player characters against Orcs who, either out of cowardice or pragmatism, work for The Empire. This includes Arkail's father, who sold out his tribe rather than having them fight the invaders to the death.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has King Zephiel of Bern secure the aid of at least one high-profile person in each country in his quest to conquer all of Elibe, with each one having a different reason for signing on. General Leygance, the head of the military of Ostia, just wanted to be on the winning side; Lord Arcard and Royal Advisor Roartz of Etruria felt their various shady business dealings would be more secure under a Bernese government; Chieftain Monke of the Sacaean Djute Clan hoped Bern's enormous military could help him break his war of attrition with his rival clans; and Flightleader Sigune of the Ilian Mercenaries was, true to her occupation, presumably being paid.
    • Sacred Stones has Orson, a once-beloved and respected knight of Renais who joins the invading Empire of Grado and was granted all of Renais to rule in their name, because he crossed the Despair Event Horizon after the death of his wife and Grado had promised to bring her Back from the Dead.
    • Cornelia from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a strange case. Although she is an influential figure among Faehrgus' inner circle, when the Adrestian Empire takes over part of the kingdom on Dimitri's story route, she immediately throws her lot in with the Empire to harass Dimitri's army as he attempts to liberate his people. She still tries to betray Faehrgus on Edelgard's route, but her damage is much more limited as Edelgard attempts to attack Cornelia directly during her army's incursion into Faehrgus territory. On both routes, it's hinted that Cornelia isn't taking orders from the Empire at all, but from "those who slither in the dark", and wants both Dimitri and Edelgard dead.
    • This dates back to the first game, whereas King Jiol of Gra, in the face of the Dolhr Empire marching to their lands, decided that the best course of action is to betray their ally Altea and then turn over to the Dolhr Empire (there was some historical grudge over this, but that's besides the point), which costed the life of King Cornelius, Marth's father. Henceforth, Fire Emblem titles tend to have a slimy political figure that started as an ally of the good kingdom but then betrayed them to the invading Empire for the sake of power.
  • Vaas in Far Cry 3. He used to be Rakyat, but then there was an "incident" and he joined up as Hoyt's second-in-command. Vaas is usually an unstable crackhead, but whenever he's within ten yards of his boss, he suddenly develops some kind of respect for authority and an indoor voice. Yeah, Hoyt is THAT terrifying.
  • Keith David becomes this in Saints Row 4, being offered to be made "mayor" of the simulation and promised to have Earth restored by Zinyak in exchange for the President's life. After the betrayal, they're even given a Lando Calrissian-esque outfit to cement it.
  • Mortal Kombat has Kano, leader of the Black Dragons, an Earthrealm criminal empire that sells technology, weapons, and services to the highest bidder. This includes selling weapons to Shao Kahn when the latter attempted to conquer Earthrealm. On top of this, he's been repeatedly shown to sell out his current benefactor if someone else offers him a better price. In brief, he's a prick, and a demonstrably disloyal, treacherous, self-serving one at that.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade: In the Imperial Guard stronghold, an outlying base rebels if you kill their commissar and sends Cannon Fodder at the main base, no matter which faction you're playing as. In the Space Marines' case, those Guardsmen are executed afer you win for betraying the Guard (both factions are fighting due to Just Following Orders in the first place).
  • System Shock: Edward Diego, the Corrupt Corporate Executive who gave the order to remove SHODAN's ethical limiters, thought he could control SHODAN. When cornered and at SHODAN's mercy, he winds up betraying what remains of the human resistance on Citadel Station to her and is basically worshipping SHODAN as he does so. SHODAN rewards him by turning him into a uniquely powerful cyborg and seems to have left him at least some measure of free will, though his loyalty to her appears to be absolute. He then becomes her dragon, acting as the top enforcer of SHODAN's will on Citadel Station.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • From the perspective of the other Dunmeri Great Houses, Great House Hlaalu was this for The Empire in Morrowind. During Tiber Septim's wars of conquest, the Hlaalu advocated joining Septim's nascent Empire even before Tribunal deity Vivec called for an armistice. For their early cooperation, the Hlaalu received great support from their Imperial allies, and were rewarded with positions of power within the new Imperial provincial structure, including as the Empire's new King of Morrowind and as the governing Dukes of Morrowind's Imperial districts, and a controlling stake in nearly every lucrative Ebony mining contract with the Empire. This unprecedented surge in political and economic power gave House Hlaalu a decisive advantage over their more orthodox rivals, House Redoran and House Indoril (the latter of which was formerly the most powerful Great House of the Dunmer due to their connections with the Tribunal Temple), allowing them to reign supreme all throughout the 3rd Era. This, however, came back to bite them at the beginning of the 4th Era, when a series of catastrophes all-but destroyed Morrowind and its people, prompting the Empire (which was itself severely weakened as a result of the Oblivion Crisis) to cut its losses and abandon Morrowind while other, less Imperial-minded Great Houses (especially House Redoran) stood up to defend and rebuild their homeland. As a result, Morrowind declared its independence from the Empire and House Hlaalu was unceremoniously stripped of all its power and made a scapegoat for all the Dunmer people's suffering. When the Dunmer culture next gets some focus in Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, House Hlaalu has effectively been Unpersoned with the other Great Houses, led by the Redorans, forming an aristocratic republic reminiscent of the pre-Imperial Dunmeri government (though with the theocratic elements toned down due to the events of Morrowind which cost them their Physical Gods the old government had been built around).
    • Similarly, the Archein tribe of Argonians was one of these. During the 3rd Era, they made fortunes by selling other Argonians into slavery. They also served as the advisors of the Imperial governors in Black Marsh, while being allowed to more directly rule over the more rural areas. When the Empire fell following the Oblivion Crisis, they quickly went bankrupt and were hunted by other Argonians as traitors.
  • Lothar Rendain the Big Bad of Battleborn is this. Coming to the conclusion that the Varelsi threat was inevitable, he saw that the only practical solution for survival would have to be to ally with these cosmic horrors instead. Although this meant betraying everyone else in the universe aiding the Varelsi in their destruction of the remaining universe, he saw this as the most pragmatic option as the objective was worth it. After all, per the Jennerit motto "Any Deed. Any Price."
  • Nihlathak from Act V of Diablo II is this in spades. He's one of the only surviving Elders of the Barbarians of Harrogath, who are under siege from Baal, the Lord of Destruction, and cut a deal with that same Prime Evil by giving him the Relic of the Ancients in return for sparing Harrogath. Said Relic allows Baal to bypass the Ancients, the guardians of the Worldstone so that he can corrupt it and bring about Hell on Earth. No mercy is had for Nihlathak when he's cut down, but he's one of the tougher bosses of the Act aside from Baal, and to top things off, he's the only villain in the entire game (if not the entire series) who gets the full Dragged Off to Hell treatment.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon weirdly zig-zags this with Moneybags. In the previous game, while he was no doubt a greedy Jerkass, he was still ostensibly on the heroes' side. In Year of the Dragon, however, he's actively working for the Sorceress, yet he'll happily betray her if it results in you coughing up more gems. All in all, it would appear that he simply allies with whichever side pays him more.
  • Tyranny has multiple characters who have willingly embraced Kyros and collaborated with them:
    • Lantry, one of your companions, is one of these for the Tiers. A former Sage, he argued that the Sages should have peacefully submitted to Kyros and opened their library for censorship rather than futilely resist like they did and get struck by the Edict of Fire. This also drove him to become a paid informant for the Voices of Nerat in the years leading up to the invasion. With the Sages scattered by said Edict, he tries to make himself useful to whoever will take him, including the Player Character and the Court of Fatebinders.
    • Centuries ago, the man who would become Tunon the Adjudicator chose to re-write his nation's laws and customs to match the laws of Kyros' Empire because he believed a war was otherwise inevitable. With the nation unknowingly assimilated into Kyros' laws, the takeover was instead relatively bloodless, and Tunon was hailed as a hero for his foresight and rewarded with a position of Kyros' Chief Justice, leading him to become an Archon who embodied the law and order of the Empire.
  • Ryuzo and his band of Rōnin in Ghost of Tsushima, who declare fealty to the invading Mongol Army out of a mixture of desperation and fear that Lord Shimura won't hold up his end of their bargain. It ultimately just gets them all killed by Jin, with Ryuzo himself rather pathetically trying to switch sides again once his back is against the wall. It doesn't work.
  • The New Order Last Days Of Europe: As an Axis victory mod, collaborators of various stripes plays major roles, some historic and some not. The rework of Reichskommissariat Moskowien puts the different motives for collaboration in stark contrast with Bronislav Kaminiski and Mikhail Gorbachev: Kaminiski (an historic collaborator) leads the collaborator hardliners who (at least so far as can be told at the starting date) genuinely believe in unconditional collaboration and the supremacy of German National Socialism, while Gorbachev (who in the context of the mod took to collaboration after the last great attempt at rebellion failed while he was still in school) leads the moderates who collaborate because they don't see resistance as meaningfully possible and so work within the system to try to moderate its excesses and push for reform and greater rights for Russians, not because they have any real loyalty to their German overlords.
  • XCOM2: VIP targets are typically humans who sold out to the Advent administration. Your objective is to kill or capture them. It should be noted that none of your enemy combatants are purely human, meaning they're all content to sit back and let the aliens and hybrids do all the work.
    • XCOM: Chimera Squad: After the events of 2, the aliens stand down and submit to human rule. Of course, this is after XCOM reveals their 'divine' Ethereals' master plan to save the galaxy was to turn themselves into shiny supermen and leave the rest of their partially mind-controlled forces to rot.

    Visual Novel 
  • ''Gnosia has the AC Supporter role who's human, but is there to HELP the Gnosia take over the ship by lying their way through, with high stats able to convince someone on the crew is an impostor or talk their way out.

  • Girl Genius:
    • Captain Vole is a Jagerkin example of this trope; the only one of their kind to utterly discard his loyalty to the Heterodynes to serve Baron Wulfenbach, Vole doesn't consider himself a Jager and seems to relish the idea of destroying what is left of the Heterodynes so the Jagers have no choice but to follow his lead. Because of the friction this causes with the other Jagers (who all serve Wulfenbach while awaiting the Heterodynes' return), Vole has been forcibly assigned to Mechanicsburg — the only town in Europa the Jagerkin cannot enter.
    • See also Doctor Silas Merlot. When Dr. Beetle is killed, Merlot attempts to pose the suggestion to Baron Wulfenbach that no one need know that the well-respected Beetle is kaputski. Unfortunately, the Baron is a little smarter and a bit more principled than most overlords; he despises traitors, and not just because a man willing to change sides that easily certainly can't be trusted to stay loyal to you. Merlot's punishment? He has to run Beetleburg, after the populace has been made aware that Dr. Beetle's death was the direct result of Merlot's petulant theatrics. He doesn't learn, either.
  • Tsukiko the necromancer in The Order of the Stick, who joins the Azurite military solely so she can switch sides and help Xykon at the first opportunity. And a couple other prisoners the Paladins released. In retrospect, that was a universally bad decision on their part, as the prisoners seem to all be Chaotic Evil and immediately started looking for ways to join Xykon. Belkar was offered the chance to do so and turned it down solely because he thought it was funnier to throw a cat in Tsukiko's face. Yes, folks, in Dungeons & Dragons, being the Quisling can be a major part of your morality and/or religion!
  • Homestuck:
    • Eridan Ampora attempts to become this. He gets as far as murdering Feferi and Kanaya, destroying the Matriorb and blinding Sollux in a duel before Kanaya comes back as a rainbow drinker and dispatches him with her chainsaw.
    • And, as it turns out, Gamzee. He's the only character who hasn't been tricked into following Doc Scratch's plans. (Rose did work with Scratch, but she had no idea what his true plan for her was.)
    • Numerous celebrities become this on Post-Scratch Earth, most notably Insane Clown Posse and Guy Fieri.
  • In Vattu, the title character encounters another slave who reveres the Sahtan civilization and scorns the fluters that he came from.
  • In d20monkey, Dove tries to win an important Dungeons & Dragons tournament by pledging service to the Big Bad of the adventure and offering Dallas, the only other surviving character, as a sacrifice. When Dallas calls upon a construct of vengeance as retribution for this backstab, he tries to pledge himself to it as well, only to be smooshed into a bloody paste instantly without as much as a charisma roll for his attempt.
  • Subverted in Schlock Mercenary: At first the crew of the Cynthetic Certainty think they're dealing with Andromedian residents who have chosen to side with the Pa'anuri. Turns out the Pa'anuri built them, or had the first ones built. And can imprint copies of their minds on their organic robots.

    Web Original 
  • Aldrivers, Devourer of Cos: Tony Hawk is this because he sold out humanity to Joan Rivers for "extreme sexual powers".
  • In an article about a computer learning to play "Pong" from EGMi, EGM's digital magazine, the writer of the article said, "I'd like to be the first to welcome our new computer overlords as that's how a lot of apocalyptic science-fiction novels start."
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, during the RtAU arc, where dragons turn most of humanity into Pokémon, Vallok gets some draconic humons to betray their species in return for better treatment, including Benjamin's old classmate Reggie, who now goes by Julkriid.
  • World War II: The show depicts the Trope Namer's attempts to establish a fascist government in Norway, only to be brushed aside by Germany dealing with the legitimate government it has overthrown.

    Western Animation 
  • Exo Squad:
    • Journalist Amanda Connor becomes the face of the Neosapien occupation, much to the disgust (but not surprise) of her ex-husband, Sean Napier, himself leader of La Résistance.
    • After Phaeton takes over Earth, Venus, and Mars, the mayor of Chicago Phaeton City is giving speeches welcoming their new masters practically before the smoke has cleared.
  • Evil Chancellor Grumper in the Felix the Cat movie. In a rewatch, it's chilling to watch him assure Princess Oriana that he'll delay the Duke's forces for as long as he can; she doesn't even know Grumper used to be the Duke's lab assistant!
  • A.J. in The Fairly OddParents TV movie "Abra-catastrophe". "I, for one, am grateful we live in a world wherein our ape overlords allow us to share in their hilarious sense of wordplay."
  • In the My Life as a Teenage Robot special "Escape From Cluster Prime", Arch-Alpha Bitches Brit and Tiff are pretty quick to side with the Alien invaders. They later make a Heel–Face Turn at just the right moment, and get away pretty easily, as far as anyone can tell.
  • The Simpsons
    • Kent Brockman, when believing the world was about to be invaded by a master race of giant ants, comments that "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV reporter, I can be useful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves." Once this is all cleared up, he says, "Well, this reporter was... possibly a little hasty earlier and would like to... reaffirm his allegiance to this country and its human president. May not be perfect, but it's still the best government we have. For now." The camera pulls back to reveal a hastily-drawn "HAIL ANTS" poster, which Kent quickly rips off.
    • Kent Brockman does it again in "The Joy of Sect", this time for his job:
      Kent Brockman: Springfield has been overrun by a strange and almost certainly evil sect, calling themselves "the Movementarians". In exchange for your home and all your money, the Leader of this "way out" and "wrong" religion claims he'll take believers away on his spaceship to the planet "Blisstonia". Excuse my editorial laugh. (laughs) But— (a note is passed to him) Ladies and gentlemen, I have just learned of a change in this station's management! Welcome, Movementarians! Continue to improve our lives! I love you, perfect Leader... and new CEO of KBBL broadcasting!
    • It's been heavily suggested Mr. Burns aided the Germans throughout the World Wars and, unlike Schindler, takes pride in having built shells for the Nazis which worked, dammit! It's even implied that him botching Abe Simpson's assassination attempt on Hitler was not just an accident. Depending on the Writer though it's unclear on which side he started with (he has an S.S, membership card and the Fuhrer fired him after the Plywood Pelican's fiasco).
  • Wuya from Xiaolin Showdown. Once one of the most powerful evil forces in the world, she is condemned to exist in spirit form and needs solid people to do her dirty work for her. She usually works for/with Jack Spicer, the incompetent junior villain who freed her from her puzzle box, but the series made a Running Gag of her going off to work with villains she saw as more powerful, only to come crawling back to Jack as soon as those villains were defeated.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Frogs of War Part 2", Will Harangue, one of Ben's most vocal critics, sings the praises of the Incurseans who conquered Earth, because they launched Ben into space in a prison pod. Later episode "Return to Forever" states that afterwards Harangue lost viewership because of said praise-singing. Which he, of course, blames Ben for it.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Attempted by Preston Northwest once Bill Cipher and his fellow demons take over. Keyword being "attempted"; Bill decides that while it's a great offer, he'd prefer to rearrange the functions of the various holes in Preston's face.
    • Played straight with Gideon, with Bill giving Gideon the position of enforcer and the task to prevent anyone from rescuing Mabel. Gideon accepts this because he gets much of what he dreamed of—a position of power where he has dominion and control over Mabel. Though that's just what he tells himself. The real reason is he's just afraid to stand up to Bill, and to admit to himself that Mabel's never going to return his feelings. After he and Dipper have a heart-to-heart moment, Gideon turns on Bill and buys enough time for Dipper to save Mabel.
  • When Tex Avery was working on his animated short Blitz Wolf, Fred Quimby, his boss at MGM studios, cautioned him not to be too harsh when parodying Adolf Hitler. When Avery incredulously asked why, Quimby replied, completely straightfaced, "After all, Tex, we don't know who's going to win the war." Avery was so disgusted by this that he made the parody even meaner.
  • The Trope Namer is referenced in the Looney Tunes cartoon "Daffy and Tom Turk". Daffy Duck is hiding a turkey that Porky Pig is hunting for Thanksgiving dinner. Daffy refuses to tell Porky where the turkey is, but caves in after hearing the scrumptious dishes Porky was planning to serve with the turkey. Upon realizing this, the turkey calls Daffy a "Quisling".
  • In Star Wars Rebels, Minister Tua is a citizen of Lothal (and Ambiguously Brown, with tan or darker skin color being rather common among Lothal natives, like Ezra and Governor Azadi), yet she's rather fervent about her loyalty to the Empire, like demonstrated in "Empire Day". It does nothing for her in the end.
    • Governor Pryce is also a local on Lothal (albeit she's not Ambiguously Brown and clearly white, and it's implied in Thrawn that her family came from offworld) and would sell out her planet to advance her own ambitions in the Empire. Even in the end, when the rebels liberate Lothal, she would rather die with the Empire rather than accept mercy from her opponent, Governor Azadi.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Scorpia claims that when the Horde invaded her family's kingdom, they willingly allowed them to use their gemstone, the Black Garnet, and worked with them, which is why she's a Force Captain in the Horde despite being a Princess. However, a flashback in a later episode suggests that this isn't entirely true, as it shows the Black Garnet being taken by force. It is left ambiguous how much the handovers involved a conflict between pro- and anti-Horde factions and how much they were an offer Scorpia's grandfather did not have the option of refusing.
  • Thundercats 2011: The story is kicked off when Grune collaborates with Mumm-Ra's forces to kill King Claudus and bring about Thundera's fall. It later becomes clear that he had always wanted to take over Thundera; Mumm-Ra's just gave him the power and resources he needed to act on his ambition. Later, when the villains reach Avista, Prefect Vultaire is so afraid of Mumm-Ra's power that he sells out the city and swears allegiance to him to save his own skin.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: an episode of the Box Top Robbery story arc was "When a Felon Needs a Friend, or: Pantomime Quisling."

    Real Life 
  • Vidkun Quisling, the real life Trope Namer, was a Norwegian fascist politician. Prior to this, he was known for his humanitarian work in Russia and Armenia with Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Nazi Germany invaded Norway on April 9th 1940 and, hoping for an easy capitulation like Denmark the day previous, asked Quisling to form his own government. Quisling attempted to do so, only to find he had no popular support and no one listened to him. The Germans attempted to negotiate support for him with the King of Norway and the government in exile but were flatly refused. He was finally appointed Minister President of Norway in 1942. When Germany lost the war, he was accused of high treason and sentenced to death by firing squad (did we mention that Norway reinstated the death penalty just for him? No? Well, they did that). The Trope Namer was created in an editorial in The Times in 1940 and quickly picked up by other news agencies and Winston Churchill.
    "To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor... they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous."
  • The United States has a much older "Quisling" in the form of Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with "traitor" in American English. As a general in the rebel Continental Army, Arnold performed a number of particularly courageous acts, but a combination of financial troubles and a perceived lack of recognition by his peers convinced him to sell out his comrades to the British. He tried to take a fort (West Point, today the site of the US Military Academy) with him, but his plot failed and he ultimately fled back to Britain. Recent scholarship suggests that Arnold's wife Peggy Shippen Arnold might have instigated the betrayal, though at the time she was cleared of charges. Some also say that there was a religious motive – as a staunch Protestant, he didn't like the idea of the Rebels accepting aid from Catholic France. The famous Boot Monument was erected in honor of his heroism at the Battle of Saratoga, but due to his later betrayal, it is the only US war memorial to exclude any mention of the honoree's name. Instead it simply alludes to his identity by describing his actions and the wound he received (a bullet to the foot, hence his boot being honored rather than the man himself). Historians believe that had he died in that battle, the name "Benedict Arnold" would probably be associated with schools, forts, and warships named in honor of a national war hero.
  • Wang Jingwei, one-time heir to Sun Yat-Sen until Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek asserted himself as the leader of the KMT/GMD with the backing of the military. In 1940 he became President of the Wang Jingwei regime based out of the Japanese-occupied areas of China. His name is considered a byword for supreme treachery to a degree that makes Benedict Arnold's look petty. Fortunately for him, he died of natural causes in '44, though his wife was tried and found guilty of treason at the post-war Nanjing War Crimes trial. To be fair, Wang had good cause to believe that his defection could ensure that the relationship between China and Japan would be one of co-operation and not exploitation. Additionally, the KMT had been forced to stoop to extreme levels to stop the brutal Japanese onslaught. Their "scorched earth" policy, while largely successful, killed hundreds of thousands in a man-made flood and a completely pointless fire. Wang hoped that with Japanese military backing, he could put an end to the war, topple Chiang's military dictatorship and rebuild China. However, the political situation changed as Japan moved to strike out at the Allies and the USA, and he quickly became little more than a puppet. All he could really do from then on was try to limit the worst excesses of the Japanese Army as they bled his country dry. Recent Chinese and Western assessments of Wang helped reinforce this view, and pointed out his important contributions during the Xinhai Revolution. Nowadays, Wang is seen as a pitiable, naive fool within China these days, rather than a despicable coward.
    • In general, Chinese Quislings are referred to in Chinese as Hanjian. Note that this refers specifically to Chinese traitors (and specially, those who betray China to foreigners, as opposed betraying one Chinese ruler or faction in favor of another); traitors from other countries are referred to with another, more general word.
  • Puyi, the "emperor" of "Manchukuo", the Japanese puppet state in Manchuria. He quickly found he didn't much care for the job and was constantly at odds with the Japanese and their exploitative zaibatsu corporations; the only reason he took it on was that the Japanese wanted a monarchist Quisling to rule the northeast, and he happened to be the only candidate for the job (having previously been the legitimate Qing Dynasty Emperor of China before the Xinhai Revolution). After the war, he was imprisoned by the Soviets, then handed over to Communist China, and finally released, later dying of natural causes.
  • Pierre Laval, who was The Man Behind the Man to Marshal Pétain in the Vichy French regime, and the reason "Les Collaborateurs" is a French phrase. Laval had been obsessively anti-Nazi and anti-German prior to the fall of France, but afterward decided the Nazis were the inevitable winners and did everything possible to ingratiate himself to them. Formerly a prominent member of the Socialist Party, Laval's defection disgusted the French left-wing to no end, with the socialists chanting "Death to Laval" as a rallying cry, that the rest of France quickly picked up. When France was freed from Nazi rule, both Pétain and Laval were sentenced to death, though Pétain got his sentence commuted to life imprisonment by de Gaulle. Laval, lacking Pétain's record of World War I heroism and advanced age, was given no such mercy.
  • Andrey Vlasov, a former Soviet general who defected to Germany during World War II and founded the collaborationist Russian Liberation Army, is the most infamous example of a pro-German collaborationist from the Soviet Union, to the point that his namesakes (Vlasov is a relatively common surname for Russians) during the Soviet times often noted in their questionnaires that they have no relation with the traitor-general.
  • The Belarusian Central Rada was a collaborator's government made up of Belarusians previously involved in anti-Red/pro-White fighting in the region during the Russian Civil War.
  • In one of the greatest ironies of World War II, Benito Mussolini ended up becoming one himself during the Italian Campaign in the later years of the conflict. Early in the war, he had been a fascist dictator — the very first of his kind, in fact — and conqueror in his own right, having come to power 11 whole years before Hitler, and with plans to carve out a "new Roman Empire" across the Mediterranean, for which he would inevitably need Quislings of his own. However, the Allies and his own monumental incompetence thwarted those plans and in 1943, the Allies singled him out to be the first Axis leader to fall. After the invasion of Sicily, with the Italian people angry and fed up with him, Mussolini was overthrown by King Victor Emmanuel III and General Badoglio, who signed an armistice that effectively saw Italy change sides and join the Allies. The Nazis didn't like that and ordered the troops they had in the country to take Italy back. German commandos freed Mussolini from his prison and he was appointed head of the "Italian Social Republic", or RSI. However, the RSI was just a puppet state for the Nazis, with Mussolini and his fellow Italian fascists now fully subservient to Hitler and the Wehrmacht. He was so hated by his own people that when he was finally recaptured near the end of the war, he was executed by firing squad and his body was unceremoniously strung up in public.
  • Ancient Rome:
    • One of Ancient Rome's favored tactics for conquest was to promise a local chieftain that he would be able to rule as a petty king over the conquered land if he agreed to provide information or troops to the Romans. What made it particularly effective was that the Romans punctiliously kept their word; submit, and Roman armies would protect you from others; don't submit, and the results would be very messy and very bad for you.
    • The Romans created cultural quislings where they would demand the pliant chieftains' sons as "hostages" and ship them to Rome, where they would be treated to the high life and the best Roman culture could give. This resulted in the heirs becoming thoroughly Romanized and converting a previously "barbarian" kingdom into a miniature Rome. It backfired with the Germans, however: instead of Going Native, Cherusci chief Arminius used his Roman military training to plan what became the first successful bid for independence by a Roman territory. Though for the most part, this system worked. Conquered lands became increasingly Romanized over the decades, and Roman citizenship eventually extended almost all residents of the Roman Empire (aside from slaves).
    • The British Empire copied this by setting up British-style schools and universities all over the empire, and by sending the sons of native rulers (and some bright commoners) to Eton and Oxford. Nehru, as one of these, was considered "the last Englishman to rule India". Likewise, the native leaders of princely states within The Raj could also be considered this.
  • Ephialtes of Trachis is remembered in Greece in the same way that Quisling is in Norway, and "Ephialtes" has become a synonym for traitor. He betrayed his countrymen and joined the Persians during the Battle of Thermopylae, showing them a mountain path that allowed the Persian forces to outflank the Spartan and other Greek forces that were defending the narrow pass. After the Persians were defeated, the Spartans put a bounty on his head. He was eventually killed in a bar fight by someone who knew nothing of the bounty, but the Spartans tracked the killer down and paid him anyway.
  • A more recent example: Alaa Hussein Ali, Saddam Hussein's puppet leader following the invasion of Kuwait. Prior to the war he had held dual Kuwaiti/Iraqi citizenship. He had grown up in Kuwait and later went to Iraq to study. While there he joined Saddam's ruling political faction, the Baathist Party. Sometime after returning home he joined the Kuwaiti Army and held the rank of lieutenant when the invasion began. But rather than fight the invasion, he latched on to it and was appointed head of the "Republic of Kuwait" puppet regime. However, just one week later Saddam declared Kuwait was now part of Iraq and rewarded Ali by making him Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq. After Kuwait was liberated and Saddam's army utterly devastated by Coalition forces, Ali disappeared. He wasn't seen or heard from until 1998, seven years later, when he turned up in Norway. He returned to Kuwait in 2000 where he was convicted of treason.
  • After the American Civil War, the formerly little-used term "scalawag" (meaning "scoundrel") became widely known as a term of abuse for Southerners allied with the North during the war and Reconstruction.
  • The equivalent term in South Asia (or at least in the Bengal region) is 'Mir Jafar'. Mir Jafar was a courtier and a general in the court of the Nawab of Bengal, Sirajuddowla. He made a pact with Robert Clive of the East India Company and during the historical Battle of Plassey, stood by and did nothing while Sirajuddowla's army was slaughtered by the British Army. This treachery thus led to the beginning of the Company's political domination of India and eventually to the British Raj and 200 years of political, economic, and social domination.
    • The term 'Jaychand' predates the above by about seven hundred years in northern and western Hindi speaking regions. Maharaja Jaychand notoriously refused to send help when the Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan was attempting to repel an invasion by the Afghan Muslim warlord Muhammad Ghori. Jaychand’ s reason for betraying Prithviraj was due to the latter eloping with his daughter. This betrayal resulted In Prithviraj’s death and Ghori gaining a strong foothold for what would eventually become the Muslim conquest of Northern India, culminating in the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.
  • People who suck up to invaders don't always end up condemned by history.
    • Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince who first rose to prominence as a military leader in the aftermath of the Mongol invasions of 1223-1240, winning several victories against invading Catholic armies. Rather than try to fight the Mongols, he did everything he could to placate them. He was successful; Russia ended up with a better deal from the Mongols than they gave to other nations they had invaded and conquered. Today, Alexander Nevsky is considered a national hero of Russia and is a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church. In a context, he is more of a rare Heel–Face Turn example.
      • Nevsky's good name derives in part from the fact that the Catholics (the Swedes, Germans, and Poles) were trying to convert the Russians to Catholicism, while the Mongols didn't give a damn what church the Russians were members of so long as they paid tribute.
      • The first few princes of Moscow - starting with Daniel, Alexander Nevsky's youngest son - continued collaborating, and were able to expand their territory and conquer other petty Russian principalities with the approval and sometimes active support of the Mongols. Eventually, the Muscovite state grew strong enough to first break free from Mongol rule and then conquer all the remnants of the Golden Horde.
    • Jose P. Laurel is today mostly known as the president of Japanese puppet government of the Philippines during World War II, but he had an illustrious political career both before and after the war. Although in his case it was actually a subversion because he was basically told to do so by the exiled president, Manuel L. Quezon. He was thus this, Promoted to Scapegoat, The Mole and Mole in Charge.
  • One of the reasons why the beatification of Croatian archbishop Aloysius Stepinac is kiiiiind of a Broken Base generator among Catholics is that he has been accused of being this to the Ustasha, the horrifyingly brutal Nazi-inspired group that ruled Croatia during World War II. His defenders say that he initially welcomed the Independent State of Croatia, but by 1942 he had started to openly condemn the Nazi-aligned state's atrocities against Jews and Serbs, and even spoke against the Ustasha in public, but was unable to do lots to help the Ustasha targets.
  • Only the truly famous or infamous are known to history by a single name. One of these is Bessos. Bessos was a Persian nobleman who ruled Sogdia, the largest province in the Persian Empire. After the battle of Gaugamela as the Great King was fleeing to the Persian heartland with Alexander breathing down their necks, Bessos and another nobleman plotted to kill him. This action guaranteed Alexander's victory, which Bessos and his cronies had hoped to be rewarded by Alexander for. Alexander was (depending on the source) either smarter, more honorable, or more idealistic than Bessos realized. Bessos' role in the plot was revealed, and the Sogdians captured him and tied him to a post on the side of a road with a sign reading "this is Bessos the dog" in Greek around his neck. Alexander, for his case only, decided to use the standard Persian punishment for treason: impalement. Normally he employed the somewhat more humane Macedonian punishment of a poisoned arrow. Basically, Bessos is the guy who killed the Achaemenid Empire. Oops.
  • In 1306, English forces besieging Scottish rebels at Kildrummy Castle managed to bribe a royal Scottish blacksmith named Osbourne who, in exchange for all the gold he could carry, set fire to the defenders' food supply. Once the castle was taken, the English, who were disgusted by his greed, melted the gold and poured it down his throat.


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Alternative Title(s): Collaborator Figurehead, Quisling


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