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Playing With / Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves

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Basic Trope: A villain turns on someone who had betrayed their side in favor of the villain themselves.

  • Straight: Chancellor Bob, nominally loyal to The Good Kingdom and Queen Alice, decides to sell sensitive information to The Empire's General Charlie. After the Kingdom falls, Charlie has Bob executed.
  • Exaggerated: Bob sells nude photos of Queen Alice to the Empire. As soon as Charlie has the photos in hand, he proceeds to butcher Bob in a Bloody Hilarious fashion.
  • Downplayed:
    • Neither General Charlie nor Emperor Evulz seriously trusts Chancellor Bob to be loyal to anyone but himself, but they did promise him a reward; so they give Bob a prestigious-but-unimportant position right in the imperial capital where he'll be constantly watched.
    • General Charlie keeps his agreement that Chancellor Bob will be taken somewhere safe. He takes him to a faraway backwater nation where no one recognizes him, therefore would not be aware of his deeds. Bob doesn't complain, but is inwardly disappointed to have not received the luxuries he believed he would receive.
    • The Empire does honor there agreements, even when treachery is involved. Simply betraying your people and hoping for a reward will get you killed along with them.
  • Justified:
    • Bob makes it clear he's a self-serving opportunist with a bad case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and Charlie doesn't feel like waiting for his sudden-yet-inevitable betrayal.
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    • Bob has assassinated Queen Alice and delivered her head to Charlie, who proceeds to explain that he wanted Alice alive to put on trial, not made into a martyr.
  • Inverted:
    • Chancellor Bob remains loyal to his queen and country alike, refusing to renounce them even when General Charlie has him at swordpoint, which convinces Charlie to spare him.
    • Chancellor Bob, a Reverse Mole, successfully assassinates General Charlie in what was supposed to be an information exchange.
    • Charlie remains loyal to Alice no matter what. Alice has Charlie executed either because she needs to make absolutely sure she purged all possible traitors, she had a paranoid Moment of Weakness, or because Alice was a bitch all along and this is The Reveal.
  • Subverted:
    • General Charlie is about to have Chancellor Bob executed, until he learns that Queen Alice had Bob's daughter beheaded for a trivial offense on Bob's part, and Bob is obviously less than pleased.
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    • General Charlie was working for Queen Alice all along, thus making him the betrayed party, not the beneficiary of treachery.
  • Double Subverted:
    • General Charlie sympathizes with Bob's reason for betraying Queen Alice, but Emperor Evulz does not, and has him executed.
    • General Charlie lies to Emperor Evulz about why he killed Bob, claiming that "we shouldn't trust a traitor", and Evulz agrees with his reasoning.
    • Alice is about to give her kingdom to the Empire and Charlie is a devoted Imperial agent helping her towards that goal.
  • Parodied: General Charlie says he will give Chancellor Bob exactly what he deserves in a suitably ominous fashion. Cue General Charlie punishing Bob by...slapping him on the wrist.
    General Charlie: Bad, Chancellor, bad! No betraying your boss!
    Chancellor Bob: B-but I'm betraying her for you!
    General Charlie: That's so beside the point!
  • Lampshaded:
    • "You really think I'm going to trust someone who's willing to sell out his own people for the right price?"
  • Averted: The Empire pays Bob quite generously for his efforts, as well as ensuring he is protected from anyone looking for revenge.
  • Enforced: The writers want to make it clear that Chancellor Bob is not a Karma Houdini.
  • Invoked: General Charlie deliberately engineers a situations where Chancellor Bob will betray Alice, for the express purpose of getting him killed in a manner that will raise no ire.
  • Exploited: Queen Alice recognized Bob's treachery from the start and had her court mage place a death-curse on him. The second Charlie stabs Bob is the second the curse activates and kills everyone in the room.
  • Conversed: "Man, even the bad guys hate Chancellor Bob!"
  • Discussed: Chancellor Bob ponders becoming The Mole for the Evil Empire ... while visiting the Good Kingdom's harshest, securest prison. Moreover, he's within earshot of former Minister Carol, who reminds him that that's why she's incarcerated.
  • Defied:
    • General Charlie holds up his side of the deal, because he wants to make it clear to the newly conquered populace that cooperation will be rewarded and killing a collaborator would be counterproductive towards that end.
    • Chancellor Bob offers his services to General Charlie, who tells him he must first publicly renounce his loyalty to his nation before he will be allowed to change sides.
    • General Charlie fully intends to execute Bob right after the betrayal is complete, but Bob insists of being rewarded in advance and through proxies, that Charlie's men will never meet Bob personally. By the time Charlie gets the info he wants, Bob would be long gone, far away and safe from Charlie.
  • Deconstructed: Word spreads about how The Empire "honors" its deals, ensuring that nobody will cooperate with them; after all, why should they if they'll just be killed for it?
  • Reconstructed: The Emperor takes pains to inform the world that this behavior only applies to treachery; he will honor all other deals instead of being blacklisted. The Empire is lauded for its integrity and consistency.
  • Implied:
    • Chancellor Bob goes to meet with General Charlie. He doesn't come back out of the room where they meet. It's unclear if he was killed or maimed.
    • After the invasion, Chancellor Bob is last seen escaping across the countryside, evading forces from both sides of the conflict. It's not clear what happens to him, but making enemies of both sides means he is unlikely to make it very far.
  • Played for Drama:
    • Former Chancellor Bob is sent to the Empire's worst prison, where he languishes and has several My God, What Have I Done? moments that he can't act on to redeem himself.
    • The Imperial government suffers from not using Bob's skills to its advantage.
  • Played for Laughs: General Charlie inflicts Amusing Injuries on Chancellor Bob.

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