Always Lawful Good

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"How do we know which side that bird is on? Why shouldn't it be leading us into a trap?"

"That's a nasty idea. Still - a robin, you know. They're good birds in all the stories I've ever read. I'm sure a robin wouldn't be on the wrong side."

A whole race or culture of fair and benevolent beings. Obviously, inverted Exclusively Evil. Sadly enough, not Truth in Television, but that's why these races exist: to show humans that they need to improve themselves.

This alignment is often justified by the race being somehow "close to Light". This trope is certainly very idealistic and is used mostly in shows with Black and White Morality. The more cynical shows love to subvert it.

In more recent media, both this trope and Exclusively Evil are less frequently used. For one, anything that comes so close to Purity Sue or Superior Species risks coming across as Always Chaotic Oblivious or Arrogant Useless instead - and in the next "generation" of works is going to be presented that way in the first place. Especially with classical versions of this trope such as angels, elves, and fairies all increasingly portrayed as at best just as fallible as humanity. In more extreme cases, while this trope practically disappears, Exclusively Evil continues in full sway, no doubt because Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids.

Note that before adding examples to this list, just like its evil counterpart, Lawful Good is only the Trope Namer. Also, like Always Chaotic Evil, Always Lawful Good also does not necessarily mean that everybody of the race is of the same good alignment. While a race can literally be Always Lawful Good and apply for this trope, this also extends to races that are also Always Neutral Good and Always Chaotic Good, or races that have Lawful Good, Neutral Good and Chaotic Good individuals, but no evil individuals of any kind.

Often a whole race of The Beautiful Elite, since Beauty Equals Goodness. Compare Noble Profession. May be employed with Alike and Antithetical Adversaries. This is a Planet of Hats where the "hat" is being good. For this trope applied to humanity, see Humans Are Good.

Examples of Always Lawful Good include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Wedding Peach have the angels fill this role. Even the worst of them is a Knight Templar who thinks the angels aren't doing enough to help the humans.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Elves if they are close to Tolkien's depiction (high elves). His idea behind them was to depict a people not corrupted by the Original Sin.
    • Not actually following Tolkien, what's with characters such as Maeglin and Feanor (and his sons).
    • Indeed, nowadays, this trope is subverted more than played straight for elves, due to people playing up their arrogance or pride. There is a reason there exists drow and dark elves in many settings these days that are purely the opposite of this trope. Indeed, that was actually the case in Dungeons and Dragons before the fans started introducing far too many examples of Chaotic Good drows who are subject to My Species Doth Protest Too Much. For a setting that involves this trope and its evil counterpart and plays them straight on several occasions, this is not very surprising.
  • The Hazers from Clifford Simak's Way Station.
  • Redwall: Mice, otters, hedgehogs, moles, hares, badgers, squirrels. Shrews are generally Chaotic Good (but always chaotic); voles are good but sometimes whiny.
  • The eledhel (“elves of light”) in The Riftwar Cycle live in a perfect Hidden Elf Village Utopia with no internal strife. All named eledhel to date have been unfailingly wise, noble and heroic. Notable because in this world, they are the same race as the dark elves (moredhel), who are war-like and hostile, differing only in their mentality and lifestyle. Though it is possible for a moredhel to embrace the eledhel way of thinking and thus Return and become eledhel, the reverse does not happen. Ever. Making this a case of Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • The Houyhnhnms of Gulliver's Travels. They are incredibly honourable, intelligent horses that live alongside feral, deformed humans (called "Yahoos") that appear to be Exclusively Evil, though this is later revealed to be a prejudice on the Houyhnhnms' part.
  • Animorphs: Deconstructed with Pemalites, a highly developed and joyful race that praised life and abhored violence, so much that when Exclusively Evil OmnicidalManiacs the Howlers arrived, Pemalites failed to muster any defence and were exterminated.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Organians, and possibly the Metrons, on Star Trek: The Original Series.
    • For that matter, most of Star Fleet itself is portrayed as something like this (with a few bad seeds), until the existence of Section 31 was revealed (after Gene Roddenbury's death, of course).
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Nox definitely qualify, the Asgard usually do, and the Ancients occasionally do (when they're not Always Lawful Stupid, at least), depending on which episode in which series you're watching. Well, the Nox might be more Chaotic Good. Or Lawful Neutral.
  • Vorlons in Babylon 5 turn out to be another subversion as they are just as petty and terrorizing as their opposing species, the Shadows; while Kosh was literally Lawful Good (for certain values of Lawful; he had no qualms about encouraging The Chosen One--all three parts of...him? Her? Them? Anyway, Sinclair, Delenn, and Sheridan—to bend the rules when necessary to maintain long-term order) the Vorlons as a whole turn out to be merely Always Lawful (Ulkesh being definitely Lawful Evil).
  • The Eternals in Doctor Who were originally intended to be this, although not much is revealed about them in the show and the Expanded Universe depicts them as having their fair share of villains. Some other species, such as Star Whales and Thals, have also only been seen in a positive light so far.

Oral Tradition[edit | hide]

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In older versions of, what else, Dungeons and Dragons, Metallic dragons.
    • Also, Paladins are a literal example. Or at least up until the fourth edition, where they were allowed to be any alignment so long as it matched their patron god.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Archons in Age of Wonders.
  • World of Warcraft has the naaru.
    • The Tauren and Draenei—both of which seem to be overwhelmingly honorable on a cultural level—have often been accused of being this (or worse). However, both races have at least a few bad seeds (and representation among Equal Opportunity Evil organizations).
      • Seems reasonable that the Draenei would be overly pure since most all of the ones that were more susceptible to corruption have already turned into demons. The ones that exist currently are the ones who fled from that.
  • The Toads and Yoshis in Mario games.
    • Though the RPGs have introduced exceptions.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

    • Best part? This is a high quality Real Life Aesop - good people screw up. Doesn't mean we shouldn't stop trying to be as good as we can be.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Mormons in South Park, although this tends to make them incredibly annoying for everybody else.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • "Angels in the house", perhaps better known as True Ladies.