"They Still Belong to Us" Lecture

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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So you managed to turn over a new leaf and are in a truce with your former enemies. However, just when you think all is well, the Big Bad appears for some reason, and you must confront them: no running away and no diverting yourself to someone else. They will find you and they will make sure you are working for them again. But they can't just kidnap you; a rebellious soldier is likely to try to escape again. So how do they break you? They use the They Still Belong to Us Lecture.

The Big Bad uses this against the heroes in order to sow distrust among the heroes about the new comrade. They will say their former minion is merely infiltrating the group and that he or she will soon backstab them in the worst time possible. Or they'll scorn the naivete of the recruiter to be so desperate to make what will be, at best, a temporary alliance between the newly recruited villain. When the Lecture is used against the betrayer, the Big Bad will start off by mocking them for joining the wrong side. When they refuses to change sides, they resort to talking about how worthless they are to both sides. If that doesn't work, blackmailing will: talking about how they need a certain drug to survive will possibly put them back in line. Dead relatives are the best way to coerce them. Afterwards, the Big Bad will leave, letting it stew for a while before getting the results.

In less idealistic fictions, this is effective in getting them back in the fold and causes the character with weak mental resolve to go back to the bad guys' side. Even if the speech doesn't work, expect comrades to be suspicious of the reformed baddie once they realize he can become a liability in an instant and one of the members to enter a Inspector Javert like state. This may even provoke the turncoat to make another turn. If the speech fails and the heroes believe that they can be trusted anyway, the Big Bad need only hire a replacement who is guaranteed to be loyal.

Fridge Logic would make one wonder "If the ex-minion is still working for the villain, why is the villain TELLING us?"

See Honor Before Reason and the heroic version "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight. A form of Apple of Discord.

Examples of "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture include:

Anime and Manga


  • Used effectively in Danny the Dog.
  • In The Lion King 2, Zira uses this effectively with the Pridelanders after Kovu betrays her, leading Simba to exile him back to the Outlands.


  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Witch tries to reclaim a character who has made a Heel Face Turn by telling the heroes that he is a traitor and his blood is her property.
    • Funny thing is, it's actually a valid claim and they have to go through, to put it simply, a lot of troubles to get him completely back.
  • A heroic variant appears in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, in which Harry pulls one on Voldemort about Severus Snape.

Live Action TV

  • On Star Trek: Voyager, the Borg Queen was prone to a "You Still Belong To Me" variant of this kind of speech on the subject of Seven of Nine.

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka declares Celes to be a spy for the Empire. Celes denies it, but Locke still questions her true intentions. Villains Never Lie after all. Kefka's escorts then incapacitate the party before Celes teleports them all away, leaving it in question for Locke (and the player) as to who was really telling the truth - Celes or Kefka. Celes.

Web Comics

  • In Order of the Stick, during a fight, Elan's brother Nale throws this into play when he realizes that Haley can't speak up to defend herself. He not only makes up the "fact" of her being on his side from the beginning, he uses a suggestion spell to help Elan believe it and to ensure he reacts with anger - hoping Elan will turn on Haley and maybe even kill her himself. It might've worked, except that the situation gave Haley exactly the reason she needed for her subconscious to stop blocking her ability to speak.