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Undying Loyalty

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"Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go where you go and live where you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried."
Ruth, Ruth 1:16 of The Bible

A character characterized by their loyalty. Can be a trait of both heroes and villains. Most of them are supporting characters, intended as sympathetic. Indeed, if used on a villain, it can sometimes be used to flesh them out and give them redeeming qualities. Alternatively, it can be negatively portrayed as a threat to conscience.

When given to a main character or one in an authority position, expect it to manifest itself in protective instinct: as a Papa Wolf or The Caretaker or someone who is A Father to His Men. When given to a Sidekick, expect it to be an unselfish willingness to support the main character. It can also be given to friends who, despite their differences, are genuinely fond of the other, and bonus points if it works both ways.

Should the object of this loyalty die, expect generous helpings of Due to the Dead as the loyal one works to honor the fallen one's memory.

See also: My Country, Right or Wrong, My Master, Right or Wrong, Thicker Than Water, I Will Wait for You and I Am Spartacus. An Act of True Love will often be used to prove how loyal one character is to another, by having them perform a great sacrifice to show that they'll put someone else's needs before their own.

Similar to but not to be confused with Blind Obedience, where a character follows unquestioningly believing their liege to be infallible. A loyal character isn't necessarily defined as a perpetual Yes-Man, and may know when to defy or contradict the subject of their devotion, especially if it's as much for their well being as their own. At times this trope might actually come at the expense of those they follow, since they will generally not obey an order that comes at their expense or abandonment. Also, obedience can be demanded and enforced by creating a culture of fear, but loyalty has to be earned through acts of goodwill, and is usually mutual.

Characters that may exhibit this trope: Battle Butler, The Dragon, Happiness in Slavery, The Renfield, The Igor, Loyal Animal Companion, Robot Buddy, Sarcastic Devotee, Psycho Supporter, Extreme Doormat, Worthy Opponent, The Champion, Sidekick, Yes-Man, Sycophantic Servant and most of the characters on the Submissive Badass index.


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    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Selfless Savior manages to convey a real Tearjerker just through its mechanic and flavor text. You sacrifice it to give another creature indestructible.
    She raised him from an orphaned pup and gave him a life of love. With his last act, he thanked her.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The appropriately-named Blindly Loyal Goblin, so named because he cannot be controlled by the opposing player. (In-Universe, he appears to work for Dark Ruler Ha Des, as seen on the Trap Card, Order to Smash.)

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Maid Maleen", the princess and her chambermaid are inseparable. Maleen is locked away in a tower for seven years. Eventually she breaks through and runs away, but she spends some time wandering around the country, suffers hunger and thirst, goes from one town to another seeking job since nobody wants to hire her... and her chambermaid remains always by her side.

  • Vocaloid:
    • "*VOiCE" is a pretty upbeat song about a robot and his undying loyalty to his master (played by Hatsune Miku) who was taken away from him because of a war. Even till his last breath, he still protects his master's house, hoping to see her one more time.
    • Evillious Chronicles:
      • The song "Servant of Evil" is a companion song to Daughter of Evil, and tells of the loyalty a servant has to his twin sister, whose cruel and evil acts led to the destruction of her kingdom. The brother, despite being a good man, follows her into evil willingly, even going so far as to murder the woman he loved by her order though the novels reveal that he actually didn't kill her. In the end, when the sister's castle was about to fall to an army after her head, the brother switches places with her, allowing himself to be executed in her place.
  • Bianca Ryan's song "I Will" is about the loyalty of the singer to the object of her affection and her support for him no matter what.
    I will come running to you
    Nothing I wouldn't do.
    I will never desert you, hurt you
    I want you to know.
  • "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders (and other artists) promises love and commitment no matter the mood and circumstances of the person to whom it is addressed.
  • REO Speedwagon did a sadder take with "Keep on Lovin' You", in which the singer declares his loyalty to his beloved and his determination to preserve their romance even when he knows she's betrayed him.
  • Rick Astley is never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down...
  • Heather Alexander summed up the core of what every pet owner sees in their friend's eyes in "Familiar's Promise".
    If it's courage you seek, I am yours to command.
    I don't outwardly speak, but I still understand.
    Through your joy and your strife, I'll attend to any task;
    I will lay down my life; all you need do is ask.

    Lay your hand on my head
    As the firelight dies,
    And believe what I've said,
    For this love never lies.
  • The speaker of "Quiet Little Voices" by We Were Promised Jetpacks is this in full:
    In any which direction, call me
    I will run for you, I'll come for you
    I'll die for you, I'll come for you
  • Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark".
    If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied
    Illuminate the "No"s on their "Vacancy" signs
    If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks
    Then I will follow you into the dark
  • 'King and Lionheart' by Of Monsters and Men. The song identifies the dynamic between the two main characters as Lady and Knight, probably in a metaphorical sense, and specifically the loyalty the latter has to the former.
    And as the world comes to an end
    I'll be here to hold your hand
    Cause you're my king and I'm your lionheart
  • Álex Ubago has the eloquently titled "Nunca dejé de creer en tu amor" ("I never stopped believing in your love").

    Myths & Religion 
  • Hanuman, as described in the Ramayana is completely devoted to Rama, to the point he swears he will live as long as Rama's name is spoken and revered, effectively becoming immortal.
  • The Shahnameh When Manijeh's father, Afrasiab learns of her relationship with the Persian warrior Bijan, she is degraded, roughed up, kicked out of her home and all her possessions are confiscated. The princess goes door to door each day begging for food so she can keep Bijan, who's chained at the bottom of a hole sealed by a giant boulder alive.
  • The Odyssey:
    • Penelope to Odysseus.
    • For that matter, Odysseus' dog in the same tale. The dog waited patiently for twenty years in abject neglect for his master to return, and when Odysseus does (albeit incognito), the dog recognizes him enough to wag its tail, then dies.
  • The page quote is from the Book of Ruth in The Bible. Ruth's speaking to her mother-in-law, Naomi, as both their husbands have died and Naomi is returning to her home; she more than lives up to her vow.

  • In WHO dunnit (1995), Butler is unfailingly loyal to his employer, Victoria, despite her terrible treatment of him and her Black Widow tendencies. Justified, as he is secretly her father, and treasures her as his only surviving link to her late mother.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • AJ Styles was known for his loyalty to TNA, having been one of the few constants in the ever-changing company. However, their continued incompetence and misuse of his talents and those of his coworkers caused him to leave for good in December 2013. That was taken as a sign by many fans that TNA was going down the drain. When AJ left, Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and Samoa Joe followed him, along with the founder of TNA, Jeff Jarrett. Then Bobby Roode, and Eric Young left. Leaving Abyss as the only original who refused to jump ship, even if it was sinking. Though James Storm left for monetary reasons, he came back to TNA when they offered him a deal no other company was willing to beat.
  • For most of 2004, when ROH happened to be going through its worst crisis, The Briscoe Brothers were not there, as Mark Briscoe was injured in a motorcycle accident and despite being considered the better wrestler ROH and other companies like CZW were willing to push solo, Jay refused to return to pro wrestling without his brother. This resulted in him only taking bookings for three months of the year and was the only time he voluntarily took an extended leave from ROH, a company he otherwise wrestled for his entire adult life.
  • Ring of Honor formed the Decade, comprising of Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, and Roderick Strong, all three of whom had been with the company for ten years. They targeted wrestlers who left the company for WWE and/or TNA and then came back for whatever reason, more-or-less invoking this trope.
  • As for the WWE itself, today the only ones who can truly count are The Undertaker (who still wrestles whenever he can despite his broken down body), Kane, and John Cena (he stated that he would only ever wrestle for the WWE). The rest who have stuck for the WWE for so long are retired or got Kicked Upstairs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS this is called "Sense of Duty".
  • Legend of the Five Rings gives us the story of the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Ujiro and his bodyguard Shunsen. Ujiro issued a challenge to the other Clan champions to determine which clan best understood the concept of loyalty. The challenge involved all the champions and their bodyguards performing an action to be set by Ujiro. If the bodyguards do not follow through with the command, that clan is disqualified. So, Ujiro gives Shunsen the command, "Kill me". He did, then committed suicide. The gathered Clan champions and bodyguards, shocked, conceded defeat. And then the Crane go and adapt the event for Winter, because that's just how the Crane are!
  • Planescape: The modrons (little clockwork creatures native to Mechanus) are like this. As the living embodiments of Law, they obey the orders of their immediate superior without question, as that is part of their nature, and they cannot comprehend disobedience. Unfortunately, with some of the weaker, less intelligent ones, they can't use their own judgment to interpret orders, and have to be told to do everything. For example, if a group of monodrones (the lowest type) are told to "attack", they do so until they are slain or the superior tells them to stop attacking, even if that means fighting each other when all enemies are defeated. (Their description in the manual says that it is fortunate they don't have to eat, or they'd have to be ordered to do that.)
  • Warhammer: The great white lions of Chrace are unflinchingly loyal to their pride, putting their bonds to their kin above everything else, and will go to immense lengths to bring vengeance to those who harm their pride-mates. This is something a wizard seeking to magically bind them has to keep in mind. Once the magic inevitably wears off, the lions are more than capable of tearing a wizard limb from limb to avenge companions who died in their service, but if the wizard manages to be accepted into the pride then the lions will remain at their side long after the spells fail and fight to the death in their defense.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, many of the Space Marines felt this towards their Primarchs. Tragically, this meant that when the Traitor Primarchs turned to Chaos, they dragged their Legions down with them.
    • Ogryns (one of the Imperium's recognized abhuman subspecies) are so loyal to the God-Emperor that not one of them has ever betrayed the Imperium willingly. Unfortunately, this mostly means that traitorous comrades just lie to them about which side they're on; Ogryns are loyal, but Dumb Muscle, so they will never disobey a direct order and don't have enough independent thought to realize their superiors may have fallen to Chaos.
      • Nork Deddog was an Ogryn bodyguard of Catachan Colonel Greiss during the Pacification of Balur. During an ambush, Greiss is hit, and instructs Deddog to get a medical kit from a wrecked Chimera (a futuristic IFV) that had veered off into a drainage ditch twenty yards up the road. In a Moment of Awesome, Deddog proceeds over and then drags the entire Chimera out of the ditch and down the road to Greiss, under continual fire all the time ("Da medi-kit is in da carriur, surr."). An incredible display of badassery and loyalty... though not exactly a great display of intelligence.
    • Vargard Obyron of the Necrons has the distinction of being perhaps the single most loyal character in the setting: when he and his master Zahndrekh awoke, it quickly became clear that Zahndrekh had gone completely mad over the millennia of slumber, believing himself to still be alive and reliving his time as a Necrontyr. Even after it was apparent that it was impossible to convince his master of the truth, rather than defecting to one of the many in Zahndrekh's court who wished to use his madness to usurp him, Obyron remains unflinchingly loyal and proves it by ensuring any attempted usurpers are violently disassembled and seeing that the prisoners of war Zahndrekh feels compelled to take are 'killed attempting to escape' after a short while. And on the battlefield, he has a special rule that teleports him to Zanhdrekh's side should his lord be threatened at all. His character quote says it all:
      "Only the deathless can truly comprehend the burden of unfailing loyalty."

  • In Transformers, Megatron usually has at least one Decepticon like this. Soundwave gets a gold star for consistency; GLORIOUS Lugnut for effort. On the other team, Optimus Prime has the undying loyalty of pretty much the entire Autobots.
  • Gorast to Makuta Teridax in BIONICLE.

    Visual Novels 
  • Several of the Servants in Fate/stay night would qualify. Saber, Berserker and Rider are probably the best examples, though the latter two are not immediately obvious. Archer has signs of this towards his master Rin from time to time despite flat out betraying her in the route centered around him.
    • Especially notable in Saber's case, as she was betrayed by Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero along with Irisviel, who she had true loyalty to.
    • None in the franchise embodies it more than the Fourth Grail War's Rider, Iskander, King of Conquerors, whose men are so loyal to him that he can create a Reality Marble from which to summon them to fight by his side once more. And later on, when Waver loses his Command Spells, Rider still sticks with him because, in his words, "Whether or not [you] are a Master, you are my friend, and that will never change."
    • Saber (aka Artoria Pendragon) is also on the receiving end of this trope from the Knights of the Round Table. While all of them will faithfully serve any Master they have, they will forever consider Artoria their one and only true king. The sole exception is Mordred, and even then, despite her betrayal, she still harbors a certain degree of loyalty mixed in with her resentment.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: The Possessor Ghost towards Melinda, no pun intended. Melinda explains that she designed it to put her interests and well-being above its own, even when it results in it's destruction by fusing with her.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Despite how little Dave seems to think of him, Evil Balloon still sticks around with him.
  • RWBY:
    • Qrow's loyalty to Ozpin is due to the latter making him feel valued and trusted, despite his bad-luck Semblance causing him to distance himself from his friends and family for their own safety. When Qrow learns the Awful Truth about Ozpin's Forever War against Salem, he goes over the Despair Event Horizon, outright assaulting Ozpin's current host, claiming that meeting him was the worst luck of his life, and spiraling further into his alcoholism to cope.
    • Roman Torchwick and Neopolitan, to the point of receiving an Origins Episode novel, RWBY: Roman Holiday. After Roman's death in the Battle of Beacon, Neo pursues the ones she holds responsible for his death.
    • Ironwood expects Undying Loyalty from those beneath him, from his second-in-command Winter to his handpicked Ace-Ops elite squad. This leads to Clover's death when his adherence to Ironwood's orders to arrest Team RWBY and their allies allows Tyrian to kill him when he attempts to capture Qrow; the rest of the Ace-Ops and Winter eventually realize Ironwood has gone too far and defect from him.

  • In The Challenges of Zona, main character Mentl uses this trope to describe his feelings for Zona, swearing that he would die beside her, and ordering her never to tell her to save himself after wiping out an army of monsters in a fireball that was hot enough to MELT the cave they were in to slag.
  • In Girl Genius Everyone in Mechanicsburg, from Jägermonsters to the town butcher to every minion and constructed monstrosity in between, are loyal to the Heterodyne family, to the point of twenty years later they are still waiting for them to come back.
    • General Goomblast explicitly states that the Jägers are voluntarily loyal to the Heterodynes, having made a solemn decision to serve the house for the rest of their unending lives before drinking the Super Serum that transformed them. The sole exception to this is Vole, who abandoned his oath and is no longer considered a Jäger by the rest.
      • It seems as though this, more than anything, is what gave the Heterodynes their power. Most Sparks use various flavors of mind control on their creations, who eventually turn on them. Most — if not all — Heterodyne creations serve their masters voluntarily, even after centuries of service.
      • Heterodynes, apparently, gain the loyalty of both their own creations and those of others by not demanding it.
    • Natural minions will remain loyal to their Sparks, even against their better judgment. Mechanicsburg, ancestral home of the Heterodynes, happens to be completely populated with natural minions loyal to House Heterodyne, each one of them as much a latent-blooded brigand as their masters.
    • Mechanicsburg is also noted for the population being incredibly loyal to each other (at least when it comes to opposing outsiders) and regard the various monsters in town with a sense of civic pride. Most notable when Franz is going on a trip and Vanamonde gives a formal speech promising revenge on anyone who harms him.
    • Castle Heterodyne was built to preserve the family's bloodline at any cost, even if that involves locking up its master until it bears descendants. When it is not being driven insane by lack of maintenance or conflicting subsystems, however, it proves to be as fiercely loyal to the Heterodynes as any other Mechanicsburger, and explicitly tells Agatha that he will publicly declare her as the new Heterodyne, even if it is its last act.
  • Homestuck: Becquerel, Jade's First Guardian dog, is so completely devoted to her that when he is prototyped, Jack Noir (the resulting creation) inherits his loyalty to her and not only can't bring himself to kill Jade, but actually puts into motion the process of reviving her after she is killed.
  • One Piece: Grand Line 3.5: Zoro/Cody takes this as a Flaw, with the intention of only being oyal to himself, but accidentally ends up beholden to Luffy after joining his crew. He later upgrades the Flaw to such a degree that Luffy/Luke could just order him to die and it'd happen. In one storyline, Don Krieg's underling Gin has the same Flaw, and we get to see what can happen when your master is not as nice as Luffy.
  • Durkon from The Order of the Stick is so loyal to his True Companions that he remains faithful to and helpful to them even after being killed, turned into a vampire, and his alignment shifted from Good to Evil. Sadly, it turns out that this was all an act by the evil High Priest of Hel possessing Durkon. The real Durkon is trapped in his own body.
  • In Skins, Jordan has stood by her werewolf lover despite the terrible thing he did during the Kettletown mission. She risks her own career to use an upcoming mission to give him a chance to redeem himself.
  • Something*Positive: The entire oddball band of True Companions has this as their primary virtue. Whatever else you can say about them, they're devoted to each other.
  • After the Kane arc in Sonic the Comic – Online!, Tails is the only person who still believes in Sonic.
  • Weak Hero:
    • The Eunjang High protagonists quickly form a deep sense of loyalty as they're forced to fight together against the Yeongdeungpo Union. This is shown most prominently when Eugene and Rowan are taken to Wolf, who attempts to violently beat Grey's location out of them. The two of them refuse to talk, and the information is instead taken from a different group of students who cowardly give it away rather than risk a single punch to the face.
    • Each of the Yeongdeungpo Union heads have a second-in-command. With the exception of Jared, who is a conniving Hate Sink who tries to pull a fast one over Wolf, they're all deeply loyal to their leader and often their close friend besides. In particular, Dean is Jake's best friend and follows him into a suicidal charge against an opposing gang, and Kingsley has absolute faith in Donald's ambitions and will do anything to support them.

    Web Original 
  • One of the defining traits of the unnamed human protagonist in Alien Abduction Role Play is their unwavering loyality to Ackt, even though by her own admission, they have every reason to despise her.
  • Jade Sinclair (Generator) to Billie Wilson (Tennyo), in the Whateley Universe. To the point that she now has a demon mark on her because part of Tennyo is not human, and feels Billie's pain through that mark.
  • Worm:
    • A villainous example: Trickster, the leader of the Travelers, is incredibly devoted to his girlfriend, Noelle, whom he dosed with a power formula that turned her into an anorexic's nightmare, to the point that he's willing to betray everyone, including his own team, at her request, even when it means taking on the most powerful superhero on the planet.
    • Rachel (aka Bitch) gets this toward Taylor as the series goes on, as Taylor is the first person to go out of her way to connect with and make friends with Bitch. Bitch's absolute faith and trust in Taylor is such that, near the end of the story, she unhesitatingly and willingly walks right into Taylor's Mind Control range, allowing Taylor to assume complete control of her mind and powers. She is the only character that does this willingly.
  • The Gaoians of The Jenkinsverse are so ferociously loyal to their Clan and friends, that when Ayma and Regaari learn that their friend (and Ayma's honorary Sister and clan member) Xiù Chang has made it home, they make an extraordinarily dangerous trip to Earth just to see her and make sure she's alright.

    Web Videos 


Video Example(s):


"I Will Wait For You"

Just as the Planet Express team was about to revive Fry's dog, Seymour, Fry calls off the experiment after learning he lived for twelve more years after he had been frozen and believed he moved on with his life. As the final scene shows, however, this was not the case.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / DownerEnding

Media sources: