Heartwarming Moments

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
At last I finally know, that warm and loving glow.

"Cause I still believe in miracles, I swear I've seen a few
And the time will surely come when you can see my point of view
I believe in second chances and that's why
I believe in you!"

There are certain moments in popular culture that feel so right, where something happens in stories that feels so good and so appropriate in the story, that you can't help but be moved by it. Usually when seeing a character taking a Woobie under his/her wings.

They could include a character helping another when it was especially needed, or when a villain finally has a real change of heart in response to the earnest efforts of the hero.

That is where the Heartwarming Moments come in, when the writers actually pull off a glowing scene that makes the whole audience say, against their better judgment, "Aw."

This trope can have massive overlap with Squee, when the moment is aimed at fulfilling the (mostly sexually or romantically oriented) wishes of the fanbase. And what may be heartwarming for one may be more of a case of Tastes Like Diabetes for another, since opinions may vary vastly on a highly subjective trope like this one. A failed attempt at creating a heartwarming moment can result in Narm if the producers muck it up. To create a genuinely heartwarming moment is a lot harder than it seems without plunging into sentimentality.

  • Tears, if any, are primarily tears of joy &/or emotional relief, not sadness. Some examples include tears shed at weddings, when babies are born, when parents come home from wars, when your kids graduate, when lost kids at the mall find their parents, when the world has gone to hell and someone holds you and tells you it will be okay, etc.
  • It has got to fit the story's narrative and tone. It can't come out of the blue as something tacked on.
  • It has to be original; clichéd nice things happening would induce more "yawn" than "awww".
  • It has to feel sincere, like the writer and/or director wanted it there to make a real point for the story, not just for a coldblooded audience appeal.
  • It must not involve setting literal hearts on fire or heart burn.

Also see WAFF for a related trope. Contrast Tear Jerker for tragic examples.

Several Tropes (if done right, that is) are common methods of achieving this:

Compare Heartwarming in Hindsight.

Examples of Heartwarming Moments are listed on these subpages: