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May 2nd 2017 at 8:09:11 PM •••

This was recently added under MoralEventHorizon.Anime And Manga

  • Vegeta crossed this when he murdered an entire Namekian village in cold-blood. Others think he crossed the line when he allowed himself to become a Majin and murdered thousands to provoke Goku to fight him.

While we normally delete characters who had redeemed, they argued for it since: to quote the main MEH page: "A character who performs an act that should make them irredeemable but somehow gets away with it is a Karma Houdini. Unless they realize it, feel horrible, and work their ass off to atone for that crossing. Then maybe it'll evolve into Forgiven, but Not Forgotten; that one crossing certainly will stay as a black mark, but they're working to be a better person. Such instances, however, are rare." That seems like the inversion of the MEH (they do something so horrible that they regret it such they seek to redeem themselves) and at odds with our current use.

I say we cut that part.

Also, I propose we make the inversion of the MEH (they do something so horrible that they regret it such they seek to redeem themselves) it's own trope ("Moral Invert Horizon"?) Any thoughts.

Jan 23rd 2016 at 12:18:46 PM •••

Would this fall under Compare or Contrast:

  • Never Live It Down: One's actions are never forgiven or forgotten, with circumstances that should make this minor or forgivable in context being (more or less) irrationally ignored.

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Jul 20th 2015 at 11:32:56 AM •••

Personally, I don't like this name: Moral Event Horizon. We read and write about ACTIONS, and sometimes even people who crossed it make a Heel–Face Turn. 'Act of Ultimate Darkness'' from Ravenloft fits better, to my mind. Does anyone else thinks we shouid rename the tropes?

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Jul 20th 2015 at 1:48:39 PM •••

The current name refers to the fact that it is impossible to return after the act in question. Act of Ultimate Darkness sounds merely as "really ghastly act".

Jul 21st 2015 at 12:11:50 PM •••

Yes, but THERE ARE people who returned after crossing a Moral Event Horizon. Which why I find it a wrong trope. What about Darth Vader? Yes, he's a Tragic Villain. But he murdered children! Yes, he made a Heel–Face Turn! But isn't his action very heinous?

Jul 21st 2015 at 2:38:46 PM •••

Moral Event Horizon is not "very heinous" act, but yes "act that turns the character irredemable". The definition that you is suggesting sounds as "Kick the Dog, but more".

Jul 21st 2015 at 3:00:33 PM •••

Also, while redeemed, Vader was never truly forgiven for MEH, and it took the ultimate price to even somewhat break even for his crimes. His MEH meant that, even after his Heel–Face Turn, it was never possible to be a truly "good guy", even if he had more opportunities to atone.

That aside, "Act of Ultimate Darkness" doesn't have any advantages over Moral Event Horizon to warrant a rename, or enough difference from Kick the Dog to even be a distinct/sub-trope.

Jul 21st 2015 at 4:19:45 PM •••

I agree that example with Vader isn't good one. And I understand you point of view about Act. However, my point is that there are people who got redeemed after crossing MEH, so perhaps we should filter the examples.

Jul 22nd 2015 at 2:34:33 AM •••

If someone gets redeemed after a MEH crossing, then they didn't cross the MEH in the first place. Remove such examples.

Jul 11th 2013 at 11:47:08 PM •••

Is there a further-up-the-scale version of this? Not the irredeemably evil event horizon, but the point at which you see a character cross a line from chaotic neutral to definitely bad? I guess it wouldn't be an event horizon at all, because you could still go back and forth over it, but it seems like there would be a boundary.

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Dec 18th 2013 at 11:56:12 AM •••

A bit late, but in case anyone else comes here wondering the same thing:

That idea is sort of covered by Start of Darkness, which is basically "the pivotal moment that started one character down the path of villainy or provided the motivation for his turn to extremism."

Edited by
Mar 3rd 2012 at 10:08:10 AM •••

Am I the only person who finds it ironic that "Moral Event Horizon" abbreviates to "MEH"?

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Apr 5th 2012 at 9:57:11 PM •••

As in, "I couldn't give less of a damn if this villain is evil or not".

Jan 5th 2012 at 10:29:06 PM •••

I think that not everyone is clear on what a moral event horizon really is. It isn't the fact that no one else will forgive someone of their crimes, it's that they no longer have remorse for their crimes. Also the horizon can only be crossed through an act of severe selfishness and evilness, such as rape and murder. Though I like the guy who believed that in X-men evolution Toad's moral event horizon is that he stole Kurt's image inducer.

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Jan 25th 2013 at 3:15:32 AM •••

True, both in-universe judgements of other characters and lack of remorse for their crimes are often associated with an MEH, but I don't feel they should be used as the main indicators of one. IMHO the best indicator of a MEH is that it is no longer realistic to entertain the possibility of the character being redeemed, and it is no longer realistically in their character to do anything kind or good.

Jan 25th 2013 at 3:18:43 AM •••

Meh (pun intended), the second paragraph of the main page describes it better than I did: "The first evil deed whose role in the story is to tell us they will always be evil. That moment where you know for sure that it is simply not in their character to do something genuinely good and unselfish."

May 1st 2011 at 8:01:20 PM •••

Wait a minute. So it says it's technically impossible for someone to cross this more than once. The Complete Monster page says that someone who fits that trope can't redeem themself without being considered a Karma Houdini. From that logic, what i'm getting is that if they DID redeem themself, they would still be a Complete Monster because they recieve no comeuppance. But is it possible for someone to redeem themselves from this and return to normal if they receive comeuppance? I need further explanation on this...

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Jul 7th 2011 at 2:07:37 PM •••

Redemption after a Moral Event Horizon implies that it wasn't a Moral Event Horizon but a subversion thereof, (Anakin's Redemption Equals Death moment, from Return Of The Jedi, comes to mind) and negates Complete Monster status. The whole "without being a Karma Houdini" qualifier is questionable to begin with, and if anything it belongs on Moral Event Horizon, not Complete Monster. (As Anakin is perceived by some as a Karma Houdini, for example.)

Might be worth taking to TRS though.

May 1st 2011 at 1:00:32 AM •••

I used "moral event horizon" in a paper on "Violence and Morality in American Literature", and my supervisor circled it and put a little question mark beside it. I was about to to tell him that it was a common term used to describe "events which cause a character to lose moral legitimacy in the eyes of others", when I realized I had got the term from TV Tropes. Any chance I can cite this website as a reference? :P

Mar 23rd 2011 at 10:45:52 AM •••

I added this as a Moral Event Horizon moment during my editing of the Eagle Eye Mysteries main page and its sub-pages, but I'm currently wondering if it could qualify for a place on the main MEH page. Here is the example as I have it written down on the EEM page, with a justification for it that I placed on that game's Fridge Logic page:

It's actually very surprising to see happen in a children's Edutainment Game, but Dave Grant arguably manages to cross the line to becoming a cold-hearted bastard by slipping a powerful magnet into Alex Hane's backpack in Book 2's version of "Case of the Crazy Compass." What qualifies this as a Moral Event Horizon moment? The fact that the magnet severely messes up Alex's compass while he's out in the woods with the rest of his Explorer Trek club, causing him to get lost for hours and being potentially put at risk of experiencing the very real dangers associated with getting lost in the woods—and our perp put the magnet in the backpack knowing that Alex and his group would be going into the woods. It becomes even worse when you learn the motive for the act, as well: because Alex's science project beat Dave's special project on magnetism.

And the justification from the game's Fridge Logic page, as I had it written out:

Fridge Horror arising out of EEM Original's "Case of the Crazy Compass" in Book 2: getting lost in the woods for extended periods of time has its dangers, even if it's an area you're familiar with, not the least of which are injuring yourself in the dark, getting in contact with poisonous plants and/or wild animals, and quite possibly suffering heat exhaustion (during the daytime in summer), hypothermia (in colder temperatures, especially at night), exposure or dehydration—and all of these, alone or combined, can lead to death if the person doesn't reach civilization or isn't found in time. So by orchestrating Alex Hane's getting lost in the woods as Disproportionate Retribution, Dave Grant was just one step short of crossing went sailing right across the Moral Event Horizon.

Edited by JusticeReaper Hide/Show Replies
May 19th 2011 at 1:27:19 PM •••

Is anyone going to respond to this? I really need to know, to determine whether to add the example to the main Moral Event Horizon page or not...

May 24th 2011 at 9:20:23 AM •••

I've decided - I'm going to chance it and add this example to the main page.

Feb 17th 2011 at 5:38:33 PM •••

I would like to propose adding an alternate title (or even renaming the trope itself) to a phrase that is already considered canonically synonymous with this trope in mainstream academic terminology, namely: Crossing The Rubicon

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Feb 19th 2011 at 11:20:13 AM •••

I've got one: When You Know You're A Psychopath

I think "The [Insert Serial Killer Here]" would make a good one.

Mar 23rd 2011 at 12:08:27 PM •••

I'd like to ask: why the need for a name-change? I think "Moral Event Horizon" is good enough as it is at the moment. The suggested "Crossing the Rubicon" doesn't carry the same "oomph," plus I have no idea what the reference is, anyway.

As for the suggested "When You Know You're A Psychopath" and "The [Insert Serial Killer Here]," to me, that sounds like "Complete Monster."

Mar 23rd 2011 at 12:15:48 PM •••

Seconded. What the hell is a Rubicon?

Mar 23rd 2011 at 1:35:25 PM •••

A river in Italy. 'Crossing The Rubicon' is a phrase that means passing the point of no return.

Mar 24th 2011 at 12:43:09 PM •••

Ok, this seems to have a little to do with the current topic, but what was the old name for Moral Event Horizon? I heard about it on the Tv Tropes section of Nightmare Fuel, and got curious. Anyone know?

Mar 25th 2011 at 2:49:52 PM •••

Thanks for the clarification re the Rubicon, but honestly, "Crossing the Rubicon" still doesn't have the same hard-hitting effect as "Moral Event Horizon" does. Nor does it have the same finality. Crossing a river versus crossing into a black hole...think about it.

Jun 17th 2011 at 5:14:42 AM •••

Ok, let's run through the criteria for when not to rename:

1. It ain't broke

Many of the examples I've seen on pages refer to characters who aren't even villains, like Sam Puckett. And there seems to be some people who think that anything a bit jerkish is a Moral Event Horizon-I've seen entries as stupid as "hitting someone with a ball" and "slapping a CD out of a guy's hand". Plus, there's a lot of misuse saying that "this character crosses the line multiple times", which is logically impossible.

2. It's a term already in use in the world.

I don't think so but I'm hardly omniscient.

3. Needs a punctuated title

Uh... no.

4. It's just for your opinion.

Hard to tell unless you have a reason for a rename.

5. There is no consensus.

I'm not entirely sure what this wiki defines consensus as, so I really don't know. However, looking at this discussion, I would guess not.

So, I'm guessing not to rename on the grounds that there's no consensus, but I'm really not sure.

Edited by ading
Jun 20th 2011 at 4:00:28 AM •••

If we do rename, how about Point Of No Redemption? That explains exactly what a Moral Event Horizon is.

Jun 21st 2011 at 5:01:43 PM •••

After google searching Moral Event Horizon, I think that this is in fact a term already in use in the world. Hence, we shouldn't rename.

Sep 3rd 2011 at 5:03:10 PM •••

I don't see a problem with the current name. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Sep 6th 2011 at 5:51:31 PM •••

The Rubicon was the river Julius Caesar crossed as an act of insurrection to end the civil war, so "Crossing The Rubicon" has connotations of achieving one's full potential and therefore lacks the negative aspersions of "Moral Event Horizon." As such, I concur with Katsuhagi. Nevertheless, I don't see a problem with a Real Life section. This isn't the Complete Monster article. People like Mengele, Josef Fritzl, Ted Bundy and Gilles de Raille can all indisputably be described as having crossed the "Moral Event Horizon."

Oct 16th 2011 at 5:42:13 PM •••

We don't have a Real Life section to prevent people from accusing Bush/Blair/Nixon/Clinton/Che Guevara/Justin Bieber of crossing it. And the trope most definitely IS broke. As I've said, many tropers seem to think that the trope just means "a character does something that isn't very nice." Of course, crossing the Moral Event Horizon generally implies doing something not nice, but not vice versa.

Jan 11th 2011 at 8:39:25 AM •••

Might this not appear in real life in some objectively verifiable form? Have psychologists said anything about anything like a "moral event horizon" or point of no return in evilness?

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Jan 11th 2011 at 8:43:04 AM •••

I think any psychologist would lose credibility if they started talking about "evil" seriously.

May 1st 2011 at 6:31:09 PM •••

Actually, a Columbia psychology professor made a scale judging on a criminal's evil scale. I must challenge the no real-life examples currently in place for this trope. There are many figures that are beyond redemption around the world and I think that it's rather un-TV Tropes like not to have some Truth in Television section for Moral Event Horizon.

Jun 29th 2011 at 11:00:06 AM •••

Im guessing the lack of a Real Life section is to avoid something like this:

  • obama's health care reform he is going to turn the us into a socialist nation!!

  • the iraq war bush had no right to invade iraq and kill millions of innocents!!

  • um anyone ever heard of clinton and monica lewinsky he is the worst person to have been president!!

  • nuh uh that would be nixon and the watergate scandal the biggest scandal in american history way worse than clinton lying about sex!!

You get the idea. Lack of capitals and punctuation is optional.

Edited by ading
Aug 23rd 2011 at 10:17:53 PM •••

Generally, any trope that has to do with negativity, morality or social criticism will have no Real Life examples. It isn't something that I necessarily agree with, but since these kinds of things are very subjective (especially in Real Life) it's also somewhat understandable.

Oct 13th 2011 at 3:43:17 PM •••

Well, there are some people, like Pol Pot, who should be listed as examples. No sane person would ever condone what he did or have any sympathy for how he died. I wish, in fact, that he would still be alive today but suffer from locked-in syndrome, and be forced to listen to recordings of the people he tormented mocking him while his caretakers rub their feet against his face.

Oct 24th 2011 at 1:36:43 PM •••

^ There may be valid Real Life examples, but that doesn't change that a Real Life page would probably degenerate into ranting about hated politicians.

Feb 6th 2012 at 12:42:12 PM •••

Why not make a rule similar to the one in "The Sociopath" (they must be officially diagnosed as a sociopath in real life examples). You know like, if we let a real life section exist, you can't use politicians unless they lead to DIRECT murder. Hell, or just no politicians. Kids Are Cruel, teens are monsters, and dispropriate retribution have pretty dark and scary real life examples, most of which are moral event horizons in themselves.

Sep 22nd 2012 at 2:46:16 PM •••

^When you say direct murder, does that mean they have to kill the person themselves, or does it count if they directly order someone to do it? I'm not sure that just "no politicians" would work. Joseph Stalin is as much a politician as Bush or Clinton right? And he only ordered people to be killed.

FastEddie MOD
Oct 3rd 2010 at 1:53:43 AM •••

No amount of pretending otherwise is going to make this anything other than a subjective. It has to do with the degree of evil done, and everyone is going to have a different read on what is 'too evil'.

You may feel the event horizon has been passed and another may not. Subjective. That is just the way it is.

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Oct 17th 2010 at 5:25:23 PM •••

... but it will make it more readable. @ Fast Eddie.

I think that's what's needed. Make it easier to look through, and maybe fewer people will be Completely Missing the Point about what a Moral Event Horizon IS.

Sep 27th 2010 at 5:13:05 PM •••

I just added a line from a short story, line 384 I believe for Comrade Death, and it didn't last five minutes before being deleted by the very next edit. Any particular reason why?

Sep 19th 2010 at 11:27:33 AM •••

If we aren't supposed to use real-life examples, why does this have a troper tales page?

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Jun 29th 2011 at 10:50:02 AM •••

So you could put works you've made where you used the trope.

Edited by ading
Aug 28th 2010 at 9:12:02 AM •••

Unlike Ozai and Zhao, Azula wasn't pure evil and she might have a chance to heal in the future according to the creators of Avatar. She would be offered true redemption when she heals and she is capable of it.

Before Zuko asked Ozai where was Ursa, he offered his father redemption.

Aug 14th 2010 at 3:30:18 PM •••

Can we get some sort of de facto ban on putting Vaarsuvius on this list? Regardless of opinions, it's causing nothing but revert and flame wars, and it's just an annoyance.

Aug 1st 2010 at 2:36:17 PM •••

Erm...would I be shot down for asking what was the horrible Troper Tale entry? The one that was so bad it had to be deleted? After hearing about it I'm curious. Or are you guys not allowed to talk about it?

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Aug 9th 2010 at 6:33:10 PM •••

Pulling the wings off a butterfly, ...Or So I Heard. It got pulled due to causing a mini flame war, again, ...Or So I Heard.

Edited by gumbal1
Jun 28th 2010 at 1:32:02 PM •••

Got rid of a Justifying Edit.

  • Vaarsuvius may have avoided the line by the thinnest of margins. Killing one-quarter of all black dragons on the planet may not be line-crossing as, by definition, the victims were all chaotic evil themselves. (Which gets into complicated ethical issues pertaining to D alignments and what "always chaotic evil" means, yadda yadda . . . )

1. It's natter. 2. I don't know how you justify KILLING BABIES.

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Jul 1st 2010 at 9:01:49 PM •••

Chromatic dragons are not ALWAYS evil, which means she must have killed some neutral or good ones. Technically, you might justify killing babies if you KNEW they were evil for certain. It's pretty bad but it falls into 'would you kill baby Hitler' territory. But it's a deal breaker more for the whole not 'always chaotic evil'.

Jul 2nd 2010 at 7:49:11 AM •••

It's notable that the montage of dying dragons that is shown when she does it includes one who appears to be a knight, which pretty strongly implies that they're not all evil, although admittedly she may not have known that.

Jul 15th 2010 at 10:14:56 AM •••

How about it isn't the Moral Event Horizon because V is still a sympathetic character who (as the story itself states) has "only" a 50-50 chance of ending up in the Evil afterlife?

Yes, it's bad. Killing babies is very incredibly bad. But it is not automatically this trope.

This example always bothered me. The MEH is a one-way trip into Complete Monster status. V is not currently a Complete Monster. Therefore, V has not crossed the MEH. In fact...

  • Normally, you wouldn't want to mess with Vaarsuvius. But if you go after V's family, V will cross any line to make you regret it. Seen here.

there, now it's not on the main page at all. Also, that's terrible use of spoilers.

Edited by billybobfred
Jun 17th 2011 at 4:51:52 AM •••

The MEH is not a "one-way trip to Complete Monster status." Mr. Krabs is listed as having crossed the Moral Event Horizon, but he is not a Complete Monster.

Jan 5th 2012 at 6:03:52 AM •••

In order to cross into the Moral Event Horizon, one you have to feel no remorse for your actions, and two, a character will still commit evil acts because he is no longer capable of making just actions. In this case V hasn't crossed it yet because s/he saved a paladin right afterwards even though it cause hir to be captured right afterwards, and s/he has signs of regretting hir actions..

Mar 29th 2010 at 5:46:48 PM •••

The Spongebob Squarepants example with Mr. Krabs isn't a crossing the line as the whole thing was mostly played for laughs and Mr. Krabs paid for his actions almost immediately. His character in the show does seem to flip flop between "greedy but lovable" and "do anything for a dime," but he doesn't seem to actually stay one way or the other. He isn't suddenly evil forever because of any one thing he's done.

And the Powerpuff Girls example was just a complaint, it didn't even identify who crossed the line.

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Apr 4th 2010 at 12:29:36 PM •••

Would there be a moral singularity (referring to the complete monster) too?

not only that, but would crossing the moral event horizon inevitably result in a complete monster?

Edited by
Apr 15th 2010 at 2:40:38 PM •••

It depends on your definition of Complete Monster (as that trope is in a constant state of discussion), but it isn't universal. It's the gray area where a villain loses sympathy or reasonable justification for their actions. Do they become reviled and despicable? Sometimes. Do they become the bona-fide villain who must pay for their actions? Yes.

May 23rd 2010 at 7:29:42 AM •••

Plankton had one in the movie, though.

Jul 27th 2012 at 11:18:03 PM •••

Mr. Krabs isn't a Complete Monster. If he was, he would abuse his employees.

Edited by Craver357
Sep 22nd 2012 at 2:47:10 PM •••

^ Well, he has even if it isn't the standard, but he doesn't qualify for a whole bunch of other reasons.

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