Knight Templar

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"Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart, for his purity, by definition, is unassailable."
James Baldwin

Sometimes, the Forces of Light and Goodness get too hardcore. In a deadly combination of The Fundamentalist, Well-Intentioned Extremist and sometimes He Who Fights Monsters, they get blinded by themselves and their ideals, and this extreme becomes tyrannical sociopathy. It's not the Forces of Darkness' fault, but they are laughing their asses off. It doesn't mean that they won't still fight to the death, but they take great satisfaction in the fact that they were right.

Usually, the Knight Templar's primary step (or objective) to his perceived "Utopia Justifies the Means" is to get rid of that pesky "free will" thing that is the cause of crime and evil. Many Knight Templar types are utterly merciless in dealing with those whom they consider evil, and are prone to consider all crimes to be equal. The lightest offenses are met with Draconian punishments such as full imprisonment, death, brainwashing, or eternal torture. Note that the canonical "minor offense with staggeringly out-of-proportion punishment" is jaywalking. If you're in a story like this, don't jaywalk.

It's important to note that despite being villains/villainous within the context of the story, Knights Templar believe fully that they are on the side of righteousness and draw strength from that, and that their opponents are not. Trying to reason with one isn't much good either, because many Knight Templar types believe that if you're not with them, you're against them. Invoking actual goodness and decency will have no effect, save for making Knights Templar demonize your cause as the work of the Devil. After all, they are certain that their own cause is just and noble, and anyone who stands in the way is a deluded fool at best and another guilty soul to be "cleansed" or evildoer to be killed at worst, and doing so is not even Dirty Business (except, sometimes, for how much it makes them suffer, having to hand out all this justice). Indeed, it may take them a while to realize that a person with sense and good will really oppose them; the righteousness of their cause—and their own selves—is self-evident to them.

The Knight Templar is the ultimate incarnation of Light Is Not Good, and in series where Dark Is Not Evil, you can count on this guy being the villain who believes that the "dark" characters are evil and must be destroyed. If a Knight Templar is not the antagonist of the story, expect to see What the Hell, Hero? and/or Not So Different come into play at least once. If they are still nominally good, expect them to be a Hero Antagonist.

Many Knights Templar can be found in the ranks of the Corrupt Church, Church Militant, or Path of Inspiration: expect them to be screaming "Burn The Heretic!" at the top of their lungs. A Knight Templar in a fantasy setting is usually a Principles Zealot, religious or otherwise. In a modern or Sci-Fi setting, the Knight Templar is just as likely to be a Totalitarian Utilitarian instead. In either case, she's likely to be a bigot who hardly qualifies as noble, but might be Troubled Sympathetic Bigot by her own Black and White Insanity. Sometimes, the Knight Templar is an artificially intelligent computer that took its instructions to "protect humanity" just a bit too far. Prone to the Hannibal Lecture about how the heroes going up against them are evil and they're actually the good guys.

Very prone to It's All About Me, thus, expect their Pride on being the only righteous ones to bring them down. Many Templars are Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil, but the most egomaniacal and self-centered ones are Neutral Evil (though they'll never admit it), and the Animal Wrongs Group version is Chaotic Evil.

See also Knight Templar Parent, Knight Templar Big Brother, and Lawful Evil. Those who will really do anything for their beliefs count among The Unfettered. A mild, comedic version is the Lord Error-Prone. Blind devotion to All Crimes Are Equal without the religious zealotry falls under Lawful Stupid.

Contrast with Card-Carrying Villain - a villain who completely believes that he is bad. A Knight Templar can become this if he has a Heel Realization and decides to keep being a villain anyway. Alternatively, he might turn Necessarily Evil. Compare and contrast with the Knight in Sour Armor, who is what happens when a Lawful Good character chooses to err on the side of Good instead of erring towards Law.

Compare/contrast Knight Errant. Contrast Good Is Not Nice for when a character is genuinely on the side of good but may rub other characters or the audience the wrong way. In case you were looking for historical Templars, see The Knights Templar. Not related to Blood Knight.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples of Knight Templar include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Prince of Tennis' Rikkaidai tennis team, who will stop at nothing to win. Especially their captain, Seiichi Yukimura, after he gets better from his illness.
  • The religious branch of the Ancient Conspiracy "Soldats" in the Anime Noir were this way, despite the ironic creation of Soldats due to their persecution 1,000 years ago. Altena in Noir, similarly, will stop at nothing to see her ideals realized, for the sake of humanity, no matter how many must die, Les Soldats or otherwise.
  • The Vatican's elite Iscariot Organization in the anime and manga Hellsing. Not that the protagonists are much better.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh has Dartz and his organization, Doma, which wants to destroy the world in order to save it.
    • Yami Yugi was also an intense Knight Templar in the early manga, driving people insane and directly setting five people on fire in order to protect Yugi. Many of his punishments took place through penalty games, but still, many of them are Disproportionate Retribution. When Yugi becomes fully aware of his presence after Yami Yugi is prepared to kill Kaiba to win, Yami tones WAY down, only approaching his old levels in Season 4 of the anime-only Doma arc when he (temporarily) loses Yugi's soul to the Orichalcos seal he stole and used.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh GX has the Society of Light, headed by a vague alien Energy Being called "The Light of Ruin".
    • Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds makes a full set with the Yliaster Trio, Aporia and Zone, who have come back from the future where Momentum has destroyed the world for the purpose of saving it. They have the power to erase and rewrite history, slaughtering people behind the scenes without most people being aware of what's happening. Then we have the Ark Cradle, which has a negative spin, cutting all power to Neo-Domino and coming down to wipe out not only the City, the heart of Momentum, but everything in a radius of 30 miles. Paradox himself comes from the same future in The Movie, with the same beliefs.
  • Death Note's main character, Light Yagami, a.k.a. "Kira", is a Knight Templar, though he's not as severe on punishment as other Death Note users. In fact, most of the interesting characters at least border on this; L is willing to torture people (albeit another Death Note user) to capture Kira, Mikami is eager to kill for Justice, Misa for love, and Light himself...This series has an extra-lubricated Slippery Slope.
  • The SOLOMON organization in Witch Hunter Robin has strong ties to the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith...better known by its truncated historical title of the Inquisition.
  • The Royal Knights organization from the various versions of Digimon are the incarnations of this trope, following anyone who possesses holy or god-like powers with a sense of unquestioning dogmatic loyalty. Usually, whoever is bossing them around goes nuts, and they end up acting as honorable villains until several of them wise up and turn "true good".
    • Lucemon is a prime example.
    • The Hypnos organization in Digimon Tamers are Knights Templar. They seek to protect the world from dangerous Digimon, but employ ludicrously indiscriminate (and almost never effective) tactics in doing so. They are horrific, genocidal, and downright brutal when it comes to actually dealing with the Digimon. Especially the ones that they catch...
  • The Holy Iron Chain Knights in Berserk are devoted to smiting out all traces of evil. The problem: they include "anyone not following our exact procedures for demon-smiting" under "evil". Because of a prophecy about a Hawk of Light, which they consider the newly-reincarnated Big Bad Griffith to be, and a Hawk of Darkness, which they consider Anti-Hero Guts to be (though it's actually Griffith as Femto), things go downhill in a hurry. Doubly applies to Inquisitor Mozgus, who believes in horrifically torturing people to "expiate their sins". The thing is, the Holy Iron Chain Knights are supposed to be strictly a ceremonial guard consisting of young noblemen whose parents wanted their heirs to have all the prestige of military service with none of the danger. It is their leader, Farnese, who is completely and fanatically dedicated to the cause. She gets better, thankfully.
  • The goals of Shaman King's X-Laws are fundamentally good: stop Hao from taking control of the world. However, when they start beating up and killing people just because they were allied to, or were about to side with, Hao, they kind of stop looking heroic. Their leader, Jeanne, may seem like a Nice Girl, but is just as much of a Knight Templar as her followers; she is willing to torture to death anyone who opposes her, believing that it's what she has to do.
    • Ironically, their target, Hao, could be considered this too. He wants to kill all normal humans in the world so that only Shamans remain, since supposedly only good people can see ghosts. He's also completely willing to kill other Shamans who get in his way.
  • An example of this played for humour is the comedy duo/LovelyAngels Love Pheromone in Akahori Gedou Hour Lovege. For even the slightest misdemeanor against them (such as calling Aimi flat-chested), they will destroy anything in the surrounding area with their Powered Armors. They have no Hero Insurance whatsoever and are, in fact, seen as villains by nearly everyone. Yet all the while, they claim that "Anything can be done in the name of justice!"
  • Trinity Blood has quite a few bloodthirsty crusaders for justice - notable among them is Brother Petros, director of the Department of Inquisition, who can favorably be described as "zealous though unsubtle" and accurately described as a bloody lunatic.
    • An early episode also subverts this when Brother Tres Iqus, Gun Kata Badass extraordinaire, declares his intent to kill an innocent child simply because he has been ordered to by his superiors, but runs out of bullets. Moments later, he empties his weapon into an attacker and walks away (revealing that he does not mindlessly follow orders from the "good guys").
  • Kaname Tosen from Bleach, whose devotion to justice leads him to join up with the Big Bad. Tosen believes that the perpetrators of injustices must be punished, regardless of circumstances; to paraphrase his own words, mercy and compassion are beautiful things, but they are most certainly not just. He joins Aizen to enact his justice on Soul Society's governors for failing to give capital punishment to his friend's murderer, and presumably for all the other bizarre evil things that they've done over the centuries, like manufacturing artificial souls and then arbitrarily committing genocide upon them. When he fought his former lieutenant, he noted that he doesn't actually care about the "justice" he preached as a captain - he simply wanted revenge. In a sense, he was saying that revenge was justice.
    • Jin Kariya in the Filler wants to destroy Soul Society because they created and then abandoned the Bount.
    • General Captain Yamamoto is this to some, thought it could easily be argued that he is willing to do evil or cruel acts to keep the universe in balance.
  • In One Piece, since the heroes are pirates, many of the Marine officers are Knights Templar, the most notable of whom is probably Admiral Akainu. The very first thing we see him do is blow up a civilian ship simply because they might be aiding an enemy. They weren't.
    • Some of the Marines, such as Akainu and Lucci, are downright dogmatic in their devotion to the concept of 'absolute justice' and can give the impression of a massive, sprawling organization comprised almost entirely of Knights Templar. This is somewhat tempered by the presence of more reasonable characters like Smoker and Garp.
    • And now we've got a slighter version in the Fishman Society. Since the world government have been heavily invoking Humans Are the Real Monsters on the fishmen, some of the more extreme segments are ready to wage war on the entire effing world to secure decent treatment of their kin. Suffice it to say that most of said kin realize how batshit insane a solution this is.
  • Sensui of Yu Yu Hakusho was a particularly brutal Knight Templar before the start of the series, believing that all demons were irredeemably evil and all humans were good, killing all demons indiscriminately. When he was given overwhelming proof that his convictions were wrong, he went completely insane and tried to overrun the world with demons, believing all humans to be corrupt.
  • Admiral Haruki Kusakabe from Nadesico is a particularly evil Knight Templar, especially in the movie, where he crosses the Moral Event Horizon into Complete Monster territory.

"There is only one Justice, and it is obviously on my side."

    • He might be more of a hypocritical, propaganda-loving megalomaniac, however. His underling Genichiro Tsukiomi, on the other hand, assassinates his best friend at a peace conference for daring to negotiate with the evil Earthlings, on Kusakabe's orders. He's become The Atoner by the time of the movie, however.
  • Duo and Slur from the RockMan.EXE saga. Slur, in particular, is another example of a thoroughly evil Knight Templar.
  • SEELE in Neon Genesis Evangelion is perfectly willing to torture young children, kill everyone in NERV, followed shortly by everybody in the entire world, horribly, to unite mankind in a "perfect" state of existence to gain transcendence and evolve humanity to it's next stage. At least the Angels weren't so pretentious.
  • Suzaku of Code Geass starts out as a Wide-Eyed Idealist and a Knight in Shining Armor. After Euphemia's death, he falls into Knight Templar territory when he starts conquering/enslaving other countries for the Emperor in the hopes of gaining control over Japan some day. Eventually, after a couple of My God, What Have I Done? moments, he gets better - or at least self-aware enough to point his Necessarily Evil tendencies in the right direction.
    • Lelouch, too, reaches this, as, in the face of catastrophic personal failure, he declares that he's in the right, and the entire world is wrong. Another interpretation, however, is that Lelouch himself was forced to do so in a desperate attempt to compensate the tragic mistake he unwittingly committed, and secretly, he knows that he himself has gone horribly wrong.
    • Many of the major noble characters in the Holy Britannian Empire are self-righteous. The Emperor believes that what he's planning to do is so righteous that conquering and dehumanising entire countries, which is the opposite of the ideology he claims, is justifiable, even though it's only buying him time. Schneizel, too, believes that world peace is worth murdering somewhere around 10 digits worth of people and then oppressing the remainder for. Even Mao has his Knight Templar moments, though he doesn't seem to care enough to actually be a Knight Templar.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's main antagonists are mostly this trope.
    • Some fans view the Anti-Spirals as being thoroughly evil examples of Knight Templar, due to their repeated crossings of the Moral Event Horizon. First, they turned Lordgenome to their side against his will, making him massacre his own people. Second, they turned Nia into their slave, and then tortured her, ripping her apart from the inside. Finally, the reason they tortured her? They were sick of merely oppressing Spiral races, and wanted to Kill'Em All. Oh, and in The Movie, the torture/interrogation scene? It involved Naughty Tentacles.
    • Lordgenome claims that he forced humanity underground and killed all who came to the surface in order to keep the Anti-Spirals away from his planet.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has Enrico Pucci in its sixth part. Pucci is a somewhat unusual case in that he was manipulated by a Card-Carrying Villain (Dio Brando himself, no less!), but he nonetheless believes that what he does is what God desires - for woe to be removed from humanity. By accelerating time to the point that the cosmos resets and then repeats itself, he's going to make humanity subconsciously aware of everything that will ever befall them in the future, meaning that they'll never be struck with shock, terror, etc. Instead, they should all be in a state of fatalistic, calm acceptance. The villainous part comes from his willingness to manipulate the various prisoners whom he imbues with Stands, and killing the Joestars and anyone else trying to obstruct him as barricades to God's will. In fact, one could argue that the final confrontation between him and Emporio, and Pucci's plans to make everyone aware of Fate being brought to nothing, is essentially Utopia Justifies the Means getting completely refuted as unjust and untenable.
  • When one of these is made King of Hou in The Twelve Kingdoms, his kingdom apparently starts well, but very soon, it gets worse as his absolute sense of justice and human nature poisons his common sense and people are executed by the bazillion under his orders. That is, until the minor noblemen and government officers get fed up with the bloodbath and behead him, his wife, and their kirin as punishment.
  • A large amount of Gundam antagonists are this. Anavel Gato in Gundam 0083 fervently believes that Zeon is in the right, and is willing to sabotage a peace treaty between his side and The Federation. With nukes.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka starts heading this way after she becomes a Magical Girl, and eventually becomes the very thing she's fighting against -- this is the eventual fate of all magical girls of the series.
    • Thanks to going back in time several times to try to prevent Madoka from dying and becoming a witch, and watching her friends die and the destruction caused by Walpurgisnacht, Homura becomes one in order to prevent Madoka from becoming a witch.
    • Some of the witches are this. Elsa Maria "saves" people by absorbing them into her barrier. Kriemhild Gretchen, Madoka's witch form in the alternate timelines, wants to do the same thing to everyone in the world.
  • Buraiden Gai: the Director of the Human Institute.
  • Wedding Peach: Saliva believed that reforming devils was stupid and kills even the harmless ones. Subverted as it's discovered that a devil killed her best friend- after she showed it mercy. She mellows out though.
  • Black Butler: Ash/Angela and Queen Victoria just want to make England a brighter, purer place in Season One.
  • Danzo from Naruto is one. While he does acknowledge that some of his actions are morally reprehensible, the lengths he is willing to go to, his conviction that only he can save the world, and the fact that he still believes his methods to be fully justified even when they cause most of the problems in the series, pushes him over the edge from Well-Intentioned Extremist into this trope.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Authority is a group of Knight Templar superheroes.
  • This is a common Alternate Universe for Super Heroes.
  • The Elseworld story Superman: Red Son features a Kal-El who lands in Soviet Russia, is brought up as the son of Stalin, and encompasses the world in a prosperous but tightly controlled dictatorship, which deals with dissidents using robotic mind-control on the basis that, hey, it's better than killing them! In the end, Lex Luthor defeats him by writing him a letter: "I'm distilling everything Superman hates and fears about himself into a single sentence." The contents of the letter: "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?" Unusual for most Knight Templar characters, this works, and Superman breaks down and cries, realizing that he's no different from Brainiac, who shrunk down cities and put them in bottles -- the only thing Superman wasn't able to undo.

Prankster: Why do you do it, "Toyman"? Why do you hurt people?
Toyman: Because they deserve it.

  • Before he becomes a Complete Monster who vaporizes pregnant women, Superboy-Prime gradually turns into a Knight Templar throughout Infinite Crisis, as Earth 1 and its heroes were too amoral for him.
  • During the Knightfall story arc, Batman's fill-in, Azrael, aka Jean-Paul Valley, was a member of the Order of St. Dumas, a Templar-esque organization of assassins.
    • The second part of Knightfall, Knightquest, tells the story of how Jean-Paul turned from Batman's Legacy Character into a Knight Templar.
  • Ra's Al Ghul was also this, along with his whole League of Assassins. He truly believes that he is purging evil from Gotham, and he's steadily going crazier due to the Lazarus Pit. That's a bad combination!
    • Another Knight Templar, and a Canon Immigrant, was Lyle Bolton, a.k.a. Lock-Up, who, in the animated series, was once the new Head of Security at Arkham Asylum, but whose methods were so harsh and extreme that everyone at the asylum was afraid of him, particularly Scarecrow. After being relieved of his post, he would go on to "arrest" those who he deemed to be at the root of Gotham's problems, including the mayor, Commissioner Gordon, reporter Summer Gleeson, and the chief doctor of Arkham before being stopped by Batman and Robin.
  • Rorschach, from Watchmen. His moral absolutism leads him to continue fighting crime even after superheroics have been outlawed, because evil must be punished.
    • Veidt as well.
  • Judge Dredd is one of the best examples of this in the world of comics. In any given strip, there's a chance that Dredd may sentence witnesses or even the victim of a crime after they reported it to him. Notably, in the more emotional story "America", Bennett Beeny gives Dredd a witness statement after he was shot through the throat by democratic terrorists, and immediately after their conversation, the Judges are contemplating whether or not they should arrest Benny for a separate offense. In that one particular instance, Dredd decides to let Beeny off the hook.
  • Starr from Preacher (Comic Book), a fusion of Templar attitude and Templar position and mission.
  • Iron Man became one of these during and after Civil War. This need not have happened; both sides were intended to have valid points, but the Editors failed to realise that almost none of the fans (or the writers) agreed with the Registration side, so they just kept penning atrocity after atrocity.
    • The main book—the book being written by Mark Millar, who was responsible for the whole plot—had him (illegally) clone a god and set him on his former friends, resulting in the death of one. Moreover, the atrocities that didn't involve Iron Man, such as arresting Captain America for refusing to enforce something that isn't a law under the orders of someone who has no authority over him, also took place in the main book. It was a Knight Templar orgy from the beginning.
  • In the lore of the Green Lantern mythos, the Lanterns were preceded by a robot force known as the Manhunters. A perfect example of the trope, they are the "logical guardian machines removing free will".
    • Sinestro got kicked out of the Green Lantern Corps for doing this. He had the most peaceful and orderly planet in the universe—because he was ruling it with an iron fist.
    • And now the Green Lantern Corps has created a sort of internal security force called the Alpha Lanterns--using Manhunter technology. This ends up biting them in the ass, eventually.
  • The X-Men have faced the Purifiers; a sect of Christian fundamentalists led by Reverend William Stryker. The Purifiers believe that mutants are the children of Satan, and they are fighting a holy war against them.
  • At one point, the Autobots in the Transformers Generation 1 comic became like this when Grimlock became leader after one of Optimus Prime's numerous Heroic Sacrifices.
    • The Autobots also did this during the Nova Prime administration in the latest series of comics.
    • Megatron in the IDW comic adaptations of Generation One started out as this. A former gladiator/miner who got pissed at the corruption of the Autobot High Council, he gathered an army of mechs with familiar thoughts toward them and started a typical working-class revolution. However, as the revolution went, he and his army became more and more bloodthirsty and greedy and resorted to more violent methods in the war, and by the time when they finally invaded Earth, none of the original goals of the Decepticons existed.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, the Ultimate version of the Psycho Man mind controls a world to feel happy and content, while the Ultimate Silver Surfer argues that they are merely happy slaves. Also, Dr. Doom is always working on creating his "utopia", even if it means destroying the world as we know it. Hey, it's for a good cause.
  • In the indie graphic novel Artesia, there are the Templars of Agall. These guys worship a patriarchal New God, calling those still dedicated to the matriarchal Old Goddesses heretics. It's their Islik-given duty to protect His church and slay those that oppose them. They have no respect for powerful women like the main character, and any woman who even seems to be dabbling in magic or herbalism deserves to be burned as a witch. Not very nice guys. And they happen to be pretty Badass.
  • Baron Zemo became one after his so-called reform in Thunderbolts. Zemo crafts elaborate plans to take over the world, but every one is a dressed-up Evil Plan that involves removing free choice from humanity. Furthermore, most of these plans involve Zemo giving himself godlike powers, and he expects everybody to trust him with such power despite his past attempts to take over the world.
  • Shadow in Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog becomes one in the "X Years Later" storylines. First, once Sonic leaves the timeline, he conquers Mobius and implements a totalitarian regime. He's eventually overthrown and put in stasis by Sonic, but It Got Worse: five years after being put in stasis, Shadow is freed by his loyalists. Understandably pissed at what happened, he proceeds to release Tikhaos in order to destroy Mobius, so that he can rebuild society afterwards. When Lien-Da protests, he simply kills her, sics Tikhaos on the planet, and teleports away.
  • Deadlock and the order of the Knights Martial in the ABC Warriors comics are specifically stated to be inspired by the tradition of the Knights Templar.
  • Kingdom Come. The premise being "what if The DCU experienced a metahuman population explosion, and they became Knight Templars Nineties Anti-Heroes with no regard for collateral damage or civilian casualties, thus forcing the Golden Age and Silver Age heroes out of retirement to set them straight?" Most notable of them is Magog. He ends up repenting though.
  • The eponymous Wanderer from Just a Pilgrim. If you're a raider and you meet up with him, you'd be better off just shooting yourself - there's less talking involved.
  • Jei-San's goal is to eliminate the evil in the world, but there's just so darn much of it...Fortunately he doesn't seem to have a hair-trigger and can walk through town uneventfully, but when it's pressed...There's also the fact that he/it was born from "evil gods" which makes his definition of "evil" highly suspect.
  • Foolkiller from Steve Gerber's Man-Thing believes that he's on Earth to punish fools for being insufficiently godly.
  • The Spectre sometimes goes this route, especially when he's portrayed as a completely inhuman creature that happens to use a human body as its host. He once considered annihilating New York to avenge the death of a single innocent man.
  • Captain Rochnan, the commander of the Vatican's Warrior Monks, in Le Scorpion.
  • The Punisher, Frank Castle, is one of the deadliest Vigilante Men in the entire Marvel Universe, with a body count that rivals most of Marvel's villains. His watchword is Pay Evil Unto Evil, and when he's on one of his many vengeance sprees, the question is not "how far will he go?", but "how fast will he get there?"
  • Reverse-Flash II/Zoom/Hunter Zolomon, the Evil Counterpart to Wally West, believes he is improving the abilities of various heroes, especially Wally, by making them experience tragedy.

Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • The Circles from the Deva Series. They firmly believe that artificial magery will lead to The End of the World as We Know It and seek to kill Hayate and friends for using Devices. Admittedly, there is a smidge of truth in their beliefs, but the extents to which they go, combined with their insistence on refusing Hayate's offers of We Could Have Avoided All This, do not help their case.
  • Subverted in the Sonic the Hedgehog and Sailor Moon crossover Chaos Infinity. Chessmaster/MadScientist Dr. Eggman manipulates the Sailor Scouts into thinking that Sonic and his friends are the ones responsible for the crisis in Tokyo and pushes them to fight each other, thinking that the Scouts are too much for his archenemies to handle. His plan fails when Sonic gathers enough Heroic Resolve to pull out his own Chaos Blast to overpower their rivals and calls out BOTH the Sailor Scouts and the people of Tokyo for their mistreatment. And then Eggman nearly kills Sailor Moon when using her and the Master Emerald as batteries for another one of his war machines to take out Sonic for good and everyone knew from then on who was really friend and foe. Again, it backfires. After stopping his final weapon, the Sailor Scouts and the Freedom Fighters become friends.
  • In the Pony POV Series, one of the Alternate Universes that Applejack sees at one point is a world were the Mane Cast have become a group of dictators who brainwash and otherwise brutally suppress anything "disharmonic". They are actually based off of the Justice Lords from the Justice League series.
  • In the Spyro Madness Saga, we have Ember's father. He murdered his mate after learning she was Malefor's granddaughter, which would make Ember his great granddaughter. He then abandoned Ember's egg in a swamp. It only gets worse when after Ember lays an egg fathered by Spyro, he kidnaps her and fools everyone into believing she's dead. He spends the next few months torturing his own daughter! When Ember's discovered she's badly scarred and missing a horn. And all of this was just because he was paranoid and believed she was a demon. Ember then shows just how wrong he was by sparing his life and allowing the police to deal with him proving she's not a monster like him. By the way, it's Terrador.
  • The Mega Crossover Megas: Final Wars features a wizard who is under the belief that as long as muggles and wizards have to share the world, there can never truly be world peace. So he uses the Glorft invasion as a chance to "free the world" of not just the Glorft, but muggles as well, and finally bring order to the world. To achieve this goal, he kills Pinky the Chihuahua, forces Doofenshmirtz to build him a bigger and better version of Megas with which he attacks the Earth Coalition while they are trying to defeat the Glorft, and drives them away from Earth, and threatens to kill Phineas and Ferb to set an example for the other Muggles what will happen if they ever try to come back ( he however is talked out of this when a wizard named Madeleine points out he is just as evil as the Glorft are.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the 1983 Italian schlock Post-Apocalyptic film Warriors of the Wastelands, the main villains call themselves Templars, and are dead set on destroying all literature (since they feel that books led to World War III) and anyone who isn't them.
  • In Frailty, Matthew McConaughey's family is commanded by God to destroy demons. One of the kids sees "destroy demons" to mean "kill people". The dramatic irony is that all the people killed are murderers or worse.
  • RoboCop, in the second film, has been reprogrammed with an All Crimes Are Equal package as a means of making him ineffective. He comes across somehow as both Lawful Stupid (shooting at a man for smoking in a no-smoking zone) and Stupid Good (by refusing to fire at someone shooting at him and trying to talk things out). He realizes that this isn't right, goes to an electrical station, and self-electrocutes to remove the programming, something that said programming didn't expect.
  • The Operative in Serenity is another example - he truly believes in the ultimate rightness of his actions, even as he acknowledges that they are horrible and he is a horrible person for doing them, and as such, he will have no place in the perfect world that he is trying to create.
    • In a way, some of the Alliance can be seen as Knights Templar, considering that they killed thirty million people on Miranda while testing a peace-inducing chemical inhalant and the entire justification for them cutting River's brain up was to "make a better world".
  • The Jigsaw serial killer in Saw does not consider himself a killer. Oh, sure, he acknowledges that his actions frequently lead to horrible death, but he never pulls the trigger. And he firmly believes that the people who survive his themed deathtraps will overcome their sins and become better (though this never actually works).
    • He kills his apprentice because she doesn't allow for her victims to actually have a chance of escaping their traps.
  • The government of Libria in Equilibrium suppressed human emotion, as it was believed responsible for causing the human tendency for violence that brought about the war that practically destroyed the world, which meant destroying art, movies, and other things inductive of emotion (including cute little dogs) and terminating "sense offenders" who go without the government mandated drug called Prozium.
  • Jonathan Doe from Se7en believes that he is punishing the wicked by killing people that go against his belief system. It could be argued, however, that he is simply a sadistic psychopath.
  • The Paladins in the film version of Jumper, led by Samuel L. Jackson. They believe that they are doing God's will by murdering all of the jumpers, as "only God should have that power".
  • Subverted in The Wicker Man, where Sgt. Howie is introduced as a religiously intolerant, uptight Jerkass. However, his faith and sense of duty are presented in a more and more admirable light as the film progresses, and he's far less infuriatingly fanatical than the townsfolk.
  • An inversion, maybe, but in a Tyler sorta way, he is one. I mean, he talks about the greater good and the removal of free will (at least to get people out of their consumerist lifestyle). It's just chaotic instead of orderly.
    • Literary, not film, but still Chuck Palahniuk: similarly, Brandy Alexander in Invisible Monsters claims that all of our desires have been conditioned by external forces, so we can't trust the things that we want. Hence, his decision to become a woman.
  • The League of Shadows in Batman Begins have devoted their lives to defeating crime and evil by any means necessary. They eventually decide to kill every single person in Gotham City and force the societal structure of the city to collapse because they feel that the entire city is beyond redemption. Judging from what we've seen of the place, they may have a point there. Fortunately, they didn't contemplate the philosophical ramifications of their earlier attempt to destroy Gotham in terms of their absolutist theories.
  • The Teutonic Knights in Alexander Nevsky are portrayed as even worse than any Templar, and the real Knights were thought to be quite ruthless as well.
  • Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski. NOW MARK IT ZERO!
  • Hayley Stark in Hard Candy. This chick would give Chris Hansen nightmares.
  • Bartleby in Dogma, once he snaps. Loki seems like this at first, but really, he's just doing it cause it's fun.
  • The Christians in Agora. Special mention must go to Ammonius, who is this Up to Eleven and to the point of Stupid Evil. The pagans aren't much better, though, doing a Too Dumb to Live move, attempting to avenge "an insult to the gods".
  • The villains of 16 Blocks are cops who got sick of red tape and decided to put criminals behind bars even if it meant breaking the law themselves. By the time the film begins, they've lost sight of their goal of safeguarding innocents and are willing to kill someone just for witnessing their misdeeds.
  • The anonymous sniper from Phone Booth is another. Similar to Light Yagami, his targets are usually unrepentant criminals like murderers, child molesters, and, at one point, a businessman who made off with a collapsed company's profits, leaving his employees and investors to rot. His target in the film, however, isn't a Complete Monster, or any type of criminal for that matter, but simply Jerkass Stu Shepard, who is having an affair and pretending to be a big shot; not exactly what you would call pure evil. Also, the sniper's methods to get criminals, real or imaginary, to confess, including targeting their loved ones, are quite questionable, to say the least. In the end, Stu confesses to his deeds, and the sniper decides to spare his life and those of his loved ones...though it's hinted that the sniper is going to check up on Stu once in a while to make sure that Stu keeps his promise of not being a douche.
  • Henry J. Waternoose, CEO of Monsters, Inc., remarks at one point in the movie that he would be willing to do anything to keep his company afloat. He wasn't kidding.
  • In the Cold War political thriller Seven Days in May, General James Mattoon Scott is secretly staging a coup against the President of the United States because he disagrees with the President's efforts to set up a disarmament treaty with the Soviets. Several chilling Hannibal Lectures, followed by some equally impressive Shut Ups, follow toward the end.

General Scott: James Mattoon Scott, as you put it, hasn't the slightest interest in his own glorification. But he does have an abiding interest in the survival of this country.
President Lyman: Then, by God, run for office. You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country - why in the name of God don't you have any faith in the system of government you're so hell-bent to protect?

  • Judge Claude Frollo is wants to destroying the race of gypsies for "inflaming the people's lowest instincts". His fanaticism is bad enough at first when he kills a gypsy woman for hiding "stolen goods",[1] but add some Perverse Sexual Lust for another gypsy woman and things reeeeeally go downhill. If anything, Frollo is a Deconstruction of a Knight Templar. As a Knight Templar, Frollo believes that All Crimes Are Equal, and that the punishment for every single one is death. While the gypsies have committed crimes, they have not done anything to bring this kind of punishment down on them. Frollo even has a family's house set on fire with them in it, even though they do not even know about the gypsies. This causes Phoebus to turn against him, and Frollo to try to kill him in return. He considers the gypsies to be vermin and advocates genocide against them. Frollo demonstrates why a Knight Templar, logically and realistically, would be a horrible person.
  • Clu, in his pursuit for the perfect system, eradicates every single thing he believes to be an imperfection...including the IS Os, which his user believes to be a miracle, and could have very well changed the system and the real world for the better had it not been for Clu's fanaticism.
  • Similar to the Jumper example above, the Royal Spanish Navy in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is on a mission to destroy the Fountain of Youth for the same reasons, and shoot one of the English soldiers to begin with.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Sentinel Prime, former commander of the Autobots, is revealed to be this. Originally Optimus's mentor and father-figure, Sentinel had been corrupted by eons of war. Convinced that Cybertron's survival was more important than loyalty to his men, Sentinel struck a deal with Megatron to find another world whose resources could be used to replenish Cybertron. Finding himself on Earth in present day, Sentinel turns on his former allies and joins Megatron to begin making plans to use Earth's resources (in particular, the six billion or so fleshlings they can turn into a Slave Race). Sentinel's Knight Templar status is also revealed to be influenced by his god complex; remembering how the Cybertronians, particularly the Primes, once lived like gods, he is immediately disgusted by how Earth's leaders treat the Autobots as simple machines.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Sun Wukong from the novel Journey to the West, when it comes to dealing with demons and bandits, who he sees as evil monsters who prey on the weak (especially those who want to eat Xuanzang). This is most notably seen during the White Bone Demon and the Doppelganger chapters. In some adaptions, Xuanzong kicks Wukong out not because what he did (like killing innocent humans who were all actually demons in disguise or groups of bandits), but because of his Knight Templarish attitude.
  • Jorge of Burgos from Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is the epitome of this trope. He's already a crazed extremist at the beginning of the book, and then he kills - or has killed - seven people. All to prevent somebody from reading a book that Jorge considers heretical: Aristotle's lost chapter of the Poetics discussing comedy. His Karmic Death comes as a huge relief, even to his allies.
  • The Anathemata Curialis from the Felix Castor series will do anything to fight back the suddenly rising wave of undead and demons, including, yes, recruiting them. You'd just better hope that you don't get possessed by anything, or otherwise get in their way.
  • In Harry Potter, Dumbledore and Grindelwald once wanted to take over the world, so wizards could stop hiding: "Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. [Us], the glorious young leaders of the revolution." On the other hand, Dumbledore manipulates many people, even planning Harry's Heroic Sacrifice, to defeat Voldemort.
    • Voldemort himself (among others) believes, not that he is a "good guy", because for him "there is no good or evil", but that wizardkind must be purged of what "infects" it - namely, everyone who's not a pureblood or half-blood wizard. He's not a perfect example though: he's got daddy issues at the heart of his motivations.
      • He's also a hypocrite, given that he himself is a half-blood.
    • His ancestor, Slytherin, seems to have based his prejudice towards muggles and muggleborns on a belief that they are inherently untrustworthy, and some of the secondary villains (namely, Bellatrix and Umbridge) do have a moral belief that all non-purebloods are dangerous subhumans.
      • Slytherin at least can legitimately say that muggles were trying to kill wizards, as he was alive during the medieval witch hunts. The rest of this, not so much.
    • Another Knight Templar is Barty Crouch Senior, who authorized the Aurors to use unforgivable curses and sent people to Azkaban without trial, and when he did give trials, they were often for show in a Kangaroo Court.
    • On the other hand, the Aurors, who hunt down Dark Wizards for the Ministry, can sometimes be this, particularly Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody, who's heavily scarred and has lost several limbs while single-mindedly doing his job. He doesn't even trust his allies.
  • The Whitecloaks in The Wheel of Time series. They think that all Aes Sedai are servants of the Dark Lord and get neighbors to accuse each other of being "darkfriends". Only three of them are presented as honorable men.
    • The Questioners, a branch that specializes in tortured confessions, are so nuts that not even the Whitecloaks can stand them.
    • Also from Wheel, the Red Ajah, that faction of the Aes Sedai dedicated to finding and depowering men who can channel. A large portion of them began to despise all men (they don't even have Warders), and eventually, they began to break Tower Law by gentling men outside the tower. As punishment, the three sitters were all exiled to farms.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novels and, to some degree, the TV series based on them, the White Council and their enforcers, the Wardens, frequently come across as Knights Templar, primarily with their draconian enforcement of the Seven Laws of Magic (usually entailing instant beheading). Morgan, one of the leaders of the Wardens, is the first and best example of this. However, this ends up somewhat subverted later in the novels when Harry, who had been viewed as a troublemaker at best and Lawbreaker at worst, and had once been under a one-strike-you're-dead parole, is recruited into the Wardens after many of them are slaughtered during the war with the vampire Red Court. Even Morgan changes his position: while he still believes that Harry is dangerous, he no longer thinks that he's evil - just arrogant, undisciplined, and stupid. This is a major change from a character previously thought to be unchanging. Even more of a subversion, as Morgan's changed opinion is mostly right.
    • The Wardens do end up seeming less like Knight Templars later into the series, once Dresden becomes a Warden and has to face a lot of the same situations. Breaking the Laws of Magic warps and corrupts people's souls, and bringing someone back from the edge of corruption is a long and risky process. Harry's ex-warlock apprentice, Molly, only broke the Laws of Magic twice, and backslides repeatedly despite Harry's constant supervision. Once Harry can't supervise her any more, she starts building up a body count.
    • Another major subversion is Michael Carpenter. He is a Knight Templar (Knight of the Cross), and is probably one of the best examples of Lawful Good done right: compassionate, kind, and all that other good-aligned stuff while still being a total Badass.
  • Lilith de Tempscire in the Discworld novel Witches Abroad, whose warped narrative awareness leads her to believe that anything she does as a fairy godmother is justified by the Theory of Narrative Causality, and means that everyone will live Happily Ever After. She's absolutely shocked when Granny Weatherwax tells her that she's not "the good one".
  • In the Revelation Space universe, there is a species which plans to prevent any technological civilization from arising for 6 billion years to make sure that life can flourish after the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies collide. They are perfectly willing to kill trillions of sapient beings and wipe out whole species in order to achieve this goal.
    • A similar feature is in Anvil of Stars and its prequel, where the good guys' mission is to defeat a group of planet destroyers who eliminated Earth. This involves eradicating nine different intelligent species who have the misfortune to be in the way. Apparently, those races were deliberately created as (non)human shields.
  • In certain time periods of Larry Niven's Known Space universe, minor crimes such as "repeated traffic violations" are punished by execution. However, this is primarily because the organs of all executed criminals are harvested for the "organ banks" for use in transplants.
  • While Lord Asriel's grand plan in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels is certainly noble in theory, the fact remains that he first kills a child in order to open the first portal to the parallel worlds, and then pulls a Lucifer and makes war on Heaven, all in a plot to kill God. We're not too sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that he succeeds. Asriel is still pretty awesome.
    • This trope also appears in The Amber Spyglass, in which the Magisterium dispatches a young priest named Father Gomez to kill Lyra. Gomez fairly blazes with righteous piety and the belief that he is on a holy mission. The sin of murder is explained away by the church as having already been "paid for", since Gomez has been doing pre-emptive penance for most of his life. It would be Artistic License Religion if the story wasn't set in a parallel universe (Dante has a very special place in his Inferno for people who apply this sort of logic). Pre-emptive penance requires a logical impossibility; you can't repent of a sin in advance (and no penance is effective without repentance) because true repentance means wanting to have never done the sin. Truly repenting in advance would mean that you'd never do the sin.
  • In the Dragonlance series of books, the Kingpriest is a Knight Templar. His insistence on destroying all evil leads to him attacking neutral people and gods (because if you aren't with us, you are against us) as well as evil. His upsetting the balance, as well as demanding from the gods the power to destroy all evil, brings about the destruction of a large part of the planet, as all the gods decide that humans have gone too far and get pissed.
  • Forgotten Realms is ripe with these. Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun is a great self-sacrificing hero when there's a real threat. When there isn't, however, he may easily find something or someone to absurdly overreact to. Eventually, he got kicked out from Harpers for carrying "dealing with evil forces against other evil forces" idea too far for their taste (and they aren't quite paladins themselves). That's the mild case.
    • Renwick Caradoon, co-founder of The Knights of Samular, used his niece as a bait for a Deal with the Devil—or rather, an incubus—whom he planned to betray. When this backfired, he locked the fiend up...along with about 200 relatively innocent souls. When his sanctimonious indiscretions and half truths sent Khelben into seething rage, he ensured that the power acquired from the deal stays with him—through blackmail and hiding behind the paladins' With Us or Against Us mentality—and continued in the spirit of such deeds.
    • Spin-a-yarn tale Only a Woman Can Take This Sort of Abuse presents Dzeldazzar, an intelligent sword that took over a paladin of Tyr.

"Evil!" the sword hissed, jerking Sir Thongolor's arms this way and that. "Any who would resist or prevent me or the holy warrior who bears me must be evil -- and must be destroyed!"

  • Inspector Javert from Les Misérables. To him, law is everything, and when he realizes that to act lawfully is to act unethically, he snaps and commits suicide. Doubles as a Inspector Javert.

Javert's ideal, was not to be human, to be grand, to be sublime; it was to be irreproachable.

  • Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward portrays a whole world dominated by Knight Templars, in a quite serious inversion of many classical tropes.
  • The Humanoids, a model of robot from Jack Williamson's 1947 novella "With Folded Hands" (and the follow-up novels The Humanoids and The Humanoid Touch) are classic examples of this trope combined with the Literal Genie trope. The Humanoids are programmed to "Serve, Obey, and Guard Men from Harm". Since nearly every human activity has some risk of harm associated with it, the Humanoids, in practice, never let anyone do anything (although, occasionally, if they really need a single human's help to "protect" a great many humans, they will bribe them with limited autonomy). When people begin to complain that these restrictions are psychologically harmful, the Humanoids drug or lobotomize them. In the end, the Humanoids invent a machine that gives them Psychic Powers and use it to institute an Assimilation Plot).
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel Duty Calls, an Inquisitor is willing to stage a massacre, abandon innocents (including children) to an alien attack, and actively cause an alien attack and massacre (and trying to assassinate Cain three times) on the grounds that what he is protecting is too valuable for the information to get out. He even thinks that Cain will agree with these actions because of the importance of the artifact.
    • In the same book, Battle Sisters refuse to retreat to the line of their defenses because they must serve the Emperor; Cain finally points out that if the Tyranids outflank them, they will be responsible for the massacre of the civilians in the Emperor's Temple. This not only persuades them to retreat, it causes one of them to thank him later, for reminding them of their duty, and admit that their zeal had lead them astray. Later, this takes on a grimmer note. The Sisters realize that they have sheltered a renegade inquisitor. Even his deception does not ease their guilt; their zeal had blinded them to the facts. In atonement, they sacrifice their lives to ensure the escape of the Inquisitor who told them the truth and her party.
    • In Xenos, Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn explains some of the mindset behind such people. He finds himself in a position where he can either mercy-kill an innocent and allow a heretic and traitor to escape, or follow the heretic and allow the innocent to die horribly. He talks to the reader for a moment, saying that, if you would kill the victim, that is good, you are human. On the other hand, you are not an inquisitor; he must place the millions of lives that the heretic threatens over the life of one. If one man must die, that millions might live, that is how it must be.
    • Many people in a position of authority in the Imperium are Knights Templar—the difference is that they have no real choice. Warhammer 40,000 is set in an incomprehensibly horrible dystopia. The Imperium can't afford to err on the side of mercy—Chaos is just too dangerous, and spreads too fast. Killing a thousand people just to nail one heretic or rogue psyker may be extreme, but it has been long-established that the whole galaxy would be overrun by Chaos if they did anything else. Chaos runs on fear, suffering, and insanity, so by their actions the leaders of the Imperium are ensuring that they can never truly defeat it. They may even be feeding it and making it stronger.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Sister Nicci fits the trope better than anyone else. Even after her Heel Face Turn, she keeps some definite traits of this.
  • Robert E. Howard's Puritan avenger, Solomon Kane.
  • Lucas de Beaumanoir in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, who actually is a Knight Templar—indeed, the Grand Master of the Order. Although most of the Templars in the novel are corrupt and immoral, Beaumanoir "is of a different stamp -- hating sensuality, despising treasure, and pressing forward to that which they call the crown of martyrdom..." He comes to the preceptory of Templestowe to root out vice and, in the process, puts the noble Jewess Rebecca on trial for sorcery.
  • Maxim, an uninitiated Light One in Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch, is this. He has been enchanted so that he can sense the evil of the Dark Ones but not the good of the Light Ones, causing him to consider himself a lonely crusader in a world choked with evil (as opposed to a world in an eternal stalemate between evil and good), leading him to kill low-powered and not particularly evil Dark Ones. Actually, given the Night Watch's philosophy of good as working for the greater good, the entire side of light can occasionally become Knights Templar, and we are explicitly told that both Soviet Communism and Nazism started out as plots by the Light to win against the Darkness.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld Auditors are very much this. They just want a universe of perfect order. Is it their fault that life, especially intelligent life, keeps getting in the way of this?
  • In Outbound Flight, Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth is renowned for cutting past the bantha poodoo and solving whatever he's been assigned to solve very quickly. He also believes that, as a Jedi connected to The Force that binds all things, he's under the best leader imaginable. Non-Jedi, if they don't have Force Sensitivity, are to submit - well, everyone is to submit, but his Padawan watches him striding through a crowd which makes way "like a swirl of dried leaves" and realizes that she's starting to think of them the way he does. In command of Outbound Flight, he's terribly authoritarian and controlling; slowly, every decision becomes his decision, and his decisions are always right. C'baoth is largely responsible for Outbound Flight's destruction. The other Jedi on board questioned what he was doing, but...he was C'baoth. Surely, it couldn't be as bad as it looked.
    • Jorus C'baoth had a clone, Joruus C'baoth, in The Thrawn Trilogy. The clone had each of those traits, Only More So and with a dash of crazy. Joruus went so far as to use the Force to control the people he led and guided.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, it seems that Gandalf would have become some sort of Knight Templar had he taken the Ring.

"Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)." (Letter 246)

    • And Gandalf recognizes this, as he explains to Frodo after he tries to give the Ring to the wizard. "Understand. I would use this ring out of a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine!" This is a temptation for Galadriel as well - both Sam and Frodo encourage her to take the Ring, insisting that she'd help people and do good with it. She responds sadly that that is only how it would begin...
  • Stannis Baratheon from A Song of Ice and Fire is a good example of why a truly just man is terrifying. He gets engaged in the Succession Crisis not only because he actually wants to be king, but because he feels that since he is the nearest successor, he has to. When dealing with a smuggler who brought him supplies during a siege, he knights him for his valor and chops off the fingertips of his left hand for his lifetime of smuggling. By the time of the story, he has actually become less of a Knight Templar and is willing to compromise his justice for the sake of his ambition—most notably, murdering his own brother and letting others take the fall, trying to bribe the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and have him forsake his oath, and not punishing those who sided with his younger brother, Renly, when he has a better claim to the throne. The smuggler in question—Davos—longs for the days when Stannis was a proper Knight Templar, because he no longer recognises this man who has betrayed so many of his own principles, and is willing to commit horrible crimes in the name of his ambition.
    • In his defense, the King of Westeros has the authority to both release a Night's Watchman from his oath and to legitimize a bastard, so both of his offers to Jon Snow were entirely legal.
    • The main advisor for Stannis, Melisandre of Asshai, is a perfectly straight example. A religious fanatic willing to murder, commit human sacrifice, and kill children for the sake of her goals, she firmly believes every action she does is right and for the greater good, and thus any method she uses is justified. She gives a lecture to Davos at one point where she declares that everything is black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, no exceptions. At one point she asks Davos whether he is a good man or not. Davos answers humbly by saying that he is both good and bad, as he has done good and bad things. Mel replies that such a thing is impossible. "An onion can be clean or rotten. If it has any rot in it, then it is a rotten onion."
  • Keira in Sandy Mitchell's Dark Heresy novels Scourge the Heretic and Innocence Proves Nothing - fanatic, dedicated to eradicating evil, convinced of the heinousness of the most minor of faults, and finding Dirty Business whenever she has to pass some trivial evil by. And people who have known her in the past think that she's mellowed out like this. Convinced that Sex Is Evil, she's first oblivious to and then deeply disturbed by the notion that she is attracted to a man, even though they are both free to marry. To be just, confronted with a prostitute trying to escape that life, she is awed by the effort the woman put into her escape.
  • The Silence in Laura Anne Gilman's Retriever series began as an organization dedicated to protecting Nulls from supernatural dangers. Motive Decay led to them deciding that the best way to do this is to destroy all supernatural beings, including sentient non-humans and magic wielding humans.
  • Simon R. Green gets a big kick out of this trope, by setting up Knights Templar as the opposition and then pulling their self-righteousness out from under them. Sometimes (e.g. the Removal Man from Unnatural Inquirer), it's by revealing to the Templar that he's unwittingly been serving the forces of evil, other times, by simply proving to them (the Walking Man from Just Another Judgement Day; the terrorists from Shadows Fall) that they're unquestionably in the wrong.
  • On one hand, the Knights of Khryl in Caine Black Knife count as Knights In Shining Armor, almost to a man. Almost. They also oppress nonhuman species, are completely inflexible, and are led by a woman who believes herself to be, in her own words, "incapable of sin". Since Khryl is a hardass, they do have some supernatural justification.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Edge of Battle, the US finds itself on the slippery slope to this as US-Mexico tensions grow due to the villain's plot, but ultimately avoids dropping off the slope.
  • In John C. Wright's Titans of Chaos, Hermes justifies being an Omnicidal Maniac with the fact that he will put the universe back together again, right.
  • Lucian Gregory in G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday

"First of all, what is it really all about? What is it you object to? You want to abolish Government?"
"To abolish God!" said Gregory, opening the eyes of a fanatic. "We do not only want to upset a few despotisms and police regulations; that sort of anarchism does exist, but it is a mere branch of the Nonconformists. We dig deeper and we blow you higher. We wish to deny all those arbitrary distinctions of vice and virtue, honour and treachery, upon which mere rebels base themselves.

  • Moses (yes, that Moses) is portrayed as this in The Pilgrims Progress.
  • Bois-Guilbert in Ivanhoe is a subversion; his main vices are lust, and arrogance and the only time he gets close to fanaticism was in his rather creepy protectiveness toward Rebecca after attempting to rape her. The Grand Master of the Templars though is a straight example.
  • The scriptures of the Church of God Awakening in the Safehold novels explicitly state that "Extremism in the pursuit of godliness can never be a sin". The Inquisition considers this a license to commit any atrocities necessary to secure their power base...in the name of God.
  • In Death: Donald Dukes from Purity In Death is very much this. He actually believes that he is so right that he has to murder every person who does not fit in his warped vision of the world.
  • Hollyleaf from Warrior Cats reaches this state at the end of the third arc, becoming obsessed with order to the point of attempting to kill her own mother for having an affair with Crowfeather. Later on, she has a Heel Realization while hiding by herself and returns much more sane and mature.
  • Like the Ikarran example from Babylon 5 below, a scene in David Drakes's Crossing the Stars illustrates what happens when a scientist programs a computer to lethally enforce his racist definition of genetic purity and forgets to allow for the fact that thanks to genetic mixing, no human being alive is 100.00% pure of ethnicity in their DNA. Answer: an entire colony planet gets eaten by their own computerized houses, and so does every unlucky visitor to that planet over the following centuries until the protagonist finally blows up the whole network.
  • The Redeemers from The Left Hand of God are fanatical Knight Templars of the worst sort, willing to commit any atrocity in the name of their Crystal Dragon Jesus and habitually do so.
  • Victor Cachet in the Honor Harrington story Fanatic is a subversion. He goes out of his way to convince people he is a fanatic running a revolutionary terror-by coming close to actually doing so. In fact what he does is make enough histrionics to be convincing to headquarters. Some of that included some real nastiness such as summarily executing several people(whom he knew to be guilty of crimes that would have merited the execution at least if not the summary part of it in a normal state) and ordering a beat-down of several others whom he thought should be left alone(to make sure headquarters was satisfied enough not to take another look at them). Really he came close to being a real Knight Templar in that one but it was at least a way of keeping worse from coming down.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Dexter, the titular character kills serial killers but has yet to consider suicide... a bit hypocritical, don't you think?
  • Uther Pendragon in Merlin. He hunts down and kills anyone related to magic in any way, even healers and children, but is not above using magic for his own ends.
  • Gordon Walker of Supernatural is a hunter who tries to kill Sam Winchester and other psychic kids because he firmly believes that they'll turn against humanity and that Sam is the Anti Christ. He considers his position unassailable enough that he won't let morality stand in the way of stopping Sam.
    • Nearly all the angels qualify, considering they believe that they're following the will of God. And most don't want to let free will get in the way of that.
    • And since the end of season six, also Castiel--well, until he became much worse...
    • Lucifer himself viewed humans as murderous apes who ruined planet Earth, which he referred to as God's last perfect masterpiece. His Humans Are the Real Monsters belief as well as his self-centered, self-righteous personality caused him to rebel against God.
  • Adam Monroe of Heroes is immortal and has lived for 400 years. This has led him to see the World as a never-ending nightmare, filled with war, famine, and global epidemics. Thus, he plans to create a perfect world by unleashing a virus that will destroy 94% of the planet, and giving those who survive a second chance. He also believes himself to be a God, and compares it to when God flooded the Earth and had Noah build an ark to start over.
    • Nathan Petrelli becomes one in the third season of Heroes. He starts off as one in Volume 4 too, but his Dragon, Danko, quickly usurps the position from under him. Nathan's plans involved simply rounding up all people with abilities and detaining them to protect national security, whereas Danko seems more interested in just eliminating them outright. They don't call him "The Hunter" for nothing.
    • The main Knight Templar from Volume 3 was Angela Petrelli.
  • The Knights of Byzantium in season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Before the whole thing was derailed into the widely-despised and nonsensical magic-as-drug-addiction storyline, Willow was very realistically developing into one of these with the season 6 premiere "Bargaining", where her absolute devotion to Buffy takes quite a dark and scary turn, as she proves willing to cross any line and break any rule to bring Buffy back from the dead and considers details such as the difference between good and evil to be trivial compared to the life of her best friend.
  • Jasmine in season four of Angel. Holtz is also an example of this.
  • To an extent, the Syndicate of The X-Files qualifies for this, as, over the series, it was revealed that they were collaborating with the alien Colonists in order to stall for time to prevent the coming invasion, and to work on a vaccine for the alien plague.
  • The Vorlons in Babylon 5 are clear examples of this trope - they seek to maintain peace and order through the manipulation of the "lesser races", often using very morally questionable methods. By this standard, the Shadows also qualify, as they truly believe that their Social Darwinist agenda of deception, violence, genocide, and Mind Rape is for the Greater Good.
    • "Infection", from the first season, finds the station under attack by a cyborg Templar. An ancient artifact infects a man, transforming him into a walking weapon designed to eradicate anyone not of 'pure Ikarran' stock. Unfortunately, for the civilisation in question, the definition of 'pure Ikarran' was unsurprisingly set by a bunch of fanatical racial purists, rather than scientists, and, as a result, not a single member of the Ikarran species actually measured up to the programmed standards. Whoops. Straczynski has apologized for the Anvilicious nature of this.
    • The recurring antagonist Alfred Bester is a bit of a Knight Templar for the Psi Corps. The best example of this is the fifth-season episode "The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father, where we see how he appears to the other members of his organization.
  • Iris Crowe on Carnivale believes that her brother Justin has a destiny. And she'll do anything to help him achieve it. Unfortunately, he's the Antichrist - and "anything", in this case, involves arson, multiple homicide, self-mutilation, and incest. The actual Knights Templar on the show are actually just MacGuffins to distract us from the fact that Ben's a fairly crappy savior. But Iris is just a chip off the old block compared to her father, Lucius Belyakov, aka Management, who's willing to orchestrate murder after murder so that Ben can realize his destiny. Ironically, this makes him the polar opposite of a Knight Templar Parent, since Ben's destiny is to kill Justin. That's good parenting.
  • Lord Dread of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future wanted to create a better world by fusing man with machine, removing the "weakness" of emotions and allowing humanity to be ruled solely by logic. Hence the "Metal Wars" and the subsequent "Project New Order", where the planet is ravaged and most of humanity annihilated, with the few that remain either loyal to Dread, in hiding, or in an organized resistance movement opposing Dread's empire.
    • While Lord Dread is plagued by the remnants of his humanity, and occasionally doubts the worthiness of the cause, the supercomputer Overmind is unflinching and resolute, and it can be argued that it doesn't share the same concern for humanity's ascension to perfection, being more focused on absolute domination by the machines.
  • Near omnipresent in Alias, to the point where multiple terrorist cells successfully pose as CIA Knights Templar to recruit unsuspecting agents, and the core group of one of those cells goes on to become actual CIA Knights Templar.
  • Charmed was notorious for relying on this one. A few examples: Paige Matthews' initiation as a witch was almost spoiled when the Big Bad of the time attempted to make her use her powers to tear out someone's heart. Incidentally, Paige's powers were staggeringly powerful in their possible implications - imagine calling nuclear weapons or lightning. When the evil and good worlds started becoming TOO evil and good, respectively, the good world was marked by extremely pleasant punishments for the slightest transgressions. And an Elder, a being of great rationality and goodness, spends a good portion of his time trying to murder an innocent baby out of fear that the baby is a Dark Messiah, creating a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Lampshaded at one point by one of his friends in on the plan. He didn't last long afterwards.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Section 31, a secret rogue Federation agency who assassinate foreign dignitaries, kidnap disloyal officers, and try to commit genocide against the Founders in the name of protecting the Federation.
    • Admiral Leyton, Sisko's old CO, attempted to overthrow the Federation President and establish a military dictatorship in order to protect the Federation from Dominion attack.
  • DCI Frank Morgan in Life On Mars is eventually revealed to be one of these. He began as a subversion of Tyrant Takes the Helm, being a more competent, enlightened, and thoughtful administrator than Gene Hunt, who he replaces. It's then revealed that he deliberately allowed a sting operation that Hunt has set up to be badly botched in order to reveal Gene Hunt's incompetence, thus allowing Morgan to take over and reform Hunt's department. That this will result in the death of everyone on Hunt's team is a sacrifice Morgan can live with.
  • Eliot Stabler from Law and Order Special Victims Unit has been known to act like this, especially in the early seasons. After he does things like waterboarding a perp, mercilessly locking up a survivor of the Serbian genocide, and arresting a porn director for "promoting pedophilia", even though said director's models were of age, and though said pedophile was messed up even before he saw the porn, you have to wonder why you're supposed to sympathize with the guy. He's implied to be prejudiced against transsexuals.
  • Bounty Hunter Keisuke Nago in Kamen Rider Kiva plays this trope so damn straight that, at times, he borders on self-parody. For example, as a young adult, he led his father to commit suicide when he reported a simple accounting error to the police as evidence of corruption, and when lambasted by an understandably furious Papa, he replied, "Sin is sin". He's also a member of a Fangire-hunting organization and believes that all Fangire are monsters to be slain - including those who are happy to co-exist peacefully with humans. He does get better, though. Bonus points for his rider form, IXA, sporting a heavy Paladin/Holy Knight motif.
  • The Knights Templar in a few episodes of Andromeda are fanatically devoted to destroying the humanity-offshoot known as the "Nietzscheans". Their leader has dark-sided in her/his attempt to stay alive "for the cause".
  • While a Complete Monster in the Sword of Truth series, in Legend of the Seeker Darken Rahl is more this trope.
  • In Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons have a paradigm shift brought on by Boomer and Caprica Six. They realize that they no longer want to destroy humanity, but rather help humanity. So, they take over New Caprica in order to rule humans and "make them better".
    • Laura Roslin edges towards this periodically throughout the course of the series, but is usually pulled back from the slippery slope by one of the Adamas.
    • Admiral Cain is a perfect example of this trope. She believes the cylons need to be entirely wiped out and anyone who stands in her way is an enemy of the cause. To achieve this end, she murders an officer for refusing to obey a suicidal order, allowed her men to systematically torture and gang rape a captured female Cylon and attempts to have Commander Adama murdered. Her absolute worst crime is abandoning civilian vessels she was transporting after stripping Them of parts and forcing certain personnel to join her ship (Leaving the rest of the civilians to die in the middle of space). When They refused, She had Their families murdered. She is also a prime example of a Knight Templar graduating to full Complete Monster status with honors.
  • The Outer Limits revival episode "A Stitch In Time" was a meditation on how Knights Templar come to be created and the price a person pays for being one. It's generally regarded as one of the best episodes of the series.
  • A few unsubs in Criminal Minds see themselves as heroic people ridding the world of evil by killing off acquitted criminals ("A Real Rain", "Reckoner"), vagrants ("Legacy"), or just general sinners ("The Big Game"/"Revelations").
  • In the Merlin-1998 series, Queen Mab, the ruler of the Old Ways, is this. According to the novelization, King Constant was like this before Vortigern overthrew him.
  • The Magister from True Blood definitely qualifies for this trope, because of his Draconian belief system and almost fanatical dedication to the Vampire Council.
  • Agent Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire is the head of the local prohibition agents, and is completely insane. He is so committed to bringing down Nucky and the bootleggers that nothing else matters in his mind, and the ends justify the means. These means include torturing a mortally wounded man to death and drowning a fellow agent that he suspects of being The Mole. That he is right about that last point doesn't stop that act from serving as his crossing the Moral Event Horizon. That is, if he didn't cross it much earlier by reaching into a dying witness's gaping abdominal wound to extract a statement...
  • Detective Vic Mackey of The Shield would like to think of himself as one. He constantly commits acts of brutality, harassment, and murders a fellow cop in order to continue his work of taking down gangs. He is often able to continue this through intimidation and the fact that many of his victims include rapists, cop killers, and child molesters, people who appear worse than him at first appearance. However, Mackey's self idealization completely falls apart upon further examination, as the last season shows him for what he truly is: a violent, sociopathic bully only concerned with his own safety and greed.
  • President Bartlet from The West Wing has shades of this trope, though he's usually self-aware enough to catch himself before he goes too far, and when he's not, he's calmed down by Leo. Made particularly explicit in "A Proportional Response", where Leo chews out Bartlet for the latter's rants about how he wishes there was an American form of "Civis Romanus" (referring to when Rome's reputation for Disproportionate Retribution was so feared that no one in the world would dare harm a Roman citizen). Leo remarks that if Bartlet tried to take steps towards such a goal, he'd have to kill Leo first, promptly making Bartlet realize just what he had been wishing for.
  • The Commander Dopant, the Big Bad of the Kamen Rider Double special W Returns: Accel, kills any criminal, no matter what the crime. His first true appearance has him vaporize someone for pickpocketing, and he's seen having other pickpockets electrocuted.
  • Superintendent Fuller from Wild Boys is this. Determined to stamp out the bushrangers, he has no trouble in riding roughshod over the law he is supposed to uphold in order to do it. In the first episode, he stages an escape attempt to allow him to gun down three prisoners, including one that he had framed.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Considered an ideal in Warhammer Fantasy Battle where rigid thought control is the only known way to keep the villains' More Than Mind Control from spreading.
    • The followers of Solkan, one the gods of law, are this to the point that even other extremists fear them.
  • And presented again in Warhammer 40,000 by the Inquisition of the Imperium of Man, who eradicate entire worlds to stop heresy from spreading. Justified, considering that heresy is inevitably followed by the horrors of the Warp.
    • Some chapters of the Imperial Space Marines themselves fall into this. There's even a chapter called the Black Templars who are notorious for their intolerance of aliens, mutants, and heretics—going as far as to "purge" entire planetary colonies because somebody there has bought equipment from alien traders. (The standard Imperial response would be to make the buyer/s pay a fine, unless the stuff came from a Rogue Trader—in which case it's all good—or starts showing signs of Chaos taint.) Their colours and insignia are derived from The Knights Hospitallers, though.
    • This applies to the Tau, too, to a lesser extent.
    • If we ignore the extreme speciesism common to all factions in the universe, the Eldar would come across as almost heroic. As it is, the whole "We would rather ten thousand humans die than one of our own" mindset dooms them to this territory.
    • Virtually all the factions in Warhammer 40,000 whose main goals are not exactly self-serving are this, perfectly representing its Black and Gray Morality. Or, to put it another way, all the factions are either Knight Templars or Complete Monsters. That, or they are the Orks or the Tyranids.
  • In the RPG Deadlands: Hell on Earth, there is a group of people - including some player characters - that call themselves Templars. In a post-apocalyptic setting named, well, Hell on Earth, you can imagine what they're like: unflinchingly hard-nosed and often turning away those in need simply because they don't live up to some subjective moral standard. Even worse, sometimes they force others, who are less "worthy", to do unseemly tasks with their awesome supernatural powers. And they're the good guys. Their more messianic counterparts have been corrupted: while they start out trying to save everyone, they inevitably become pawns of evil.

Jo, Templar Grand-Master: Here's the way we see it. The old world was full of greedy, violent people. It was also full of lazy bags of crap who knew the world was going to Hell and didn't do a damn thing about it. The small minority who stood up against evil, who sacrificed everything to help fight oppression, didn't usually get much help. Templars have vowed not to let that happen again.

  • Dungeons & Dragons has several examples from several settings.
    • At least 10% of anyone involved in anything in Eberron are Knights Templar. The Church of the Silver Flame's hardliners a) want to forcibly convert everyone and b) consider fire a divinely sanctioned weapon, even against civilians. This is from a Lawful Good religion, with help from Eberron removing the rule about cleric alignments. And one of the basic premises of the Silver Flame is that swordpoint conversions are utterly meaningless. Shifters are also rarely members of the Church, mainly because of their recent crusade against lycanthropes: many shifters were similar enough to the lycanthropes to be targeted as well. They're still not pleased on that score.
    • Forgotten Realms 3.5 ed. Sourcebook City Of Splendors - Waterdeep introduced a special feat, "Veil of Cyric". It makes evil characters (but not following an evil deity) undetectable (only) as evil, as they rationalize any acts they "have to" do as just and pure. Cyric is here probably because the Prince of Lies used to see the people who indulged in such self-deception as his personal jesters.
    • Moving to Planescape, roughly half of the Mercykillers faction can fall into this category; they were originally two separate factions, the Sons of Mercy (Lawful Good) and the Sodkillers (Lawful Evil), but when the Lady of Pain declared that only ten factions could exist, they joined forces; after the Faction War, when the Lady banished all the factions, the Mercykillers split apart again.
    • It's also an inherent risk of certain paladin-based prestige classes, such as the Grey Guard (who get cheap atonement when they do something less-than-angelic in the service of good, like beating someone to death to get information out of them) and the Shadowbane Inquisitor (who, despite having levels of rogue, are considered unusually hardassed even by other paladins).
    • The Monster Manual 3 from the 3.5 version introduces the Lumi, a race of extraplanar light-empowered beings who believe lying to be the ultimate sin. To be clear, if the choice was between telling a lie and letting thousands of people die, a Lumi would have no doubt: all those thousands of innocents would have to die. It seems that these guys are planning a mass invasion of the Material Plane to destroy any and all deceivers...and those who have so much as told a white lie.
    • In Ravenloft, there's a Darklord who's one of these, a Paladin named Elena Faith who became so extreme (as in, not even her god would support her pogroms against the "unworthy") that the Dark Powers took notice of her and stuffed her into Ravenloft. Every night, she is taken on a ride across her domain to see the spirits of all she has tortured to death, and when she gets back up, she is filled with a desire to make her domain a better place. Unfortunately, this usually means more torture and pogroms. Plus, her "detect evil" actually detects strong passions, so people who like her register the same as people who loathe her, and both usually end up on the chopping block.
    • The Ravenloft setting is also home to Diamabel, who closely fit this trope, as well as some more sympathetic examples, such as the well-meaning but ignorant Tepestani Inquisition, and monster-hunters or Darkonian Ezrans who've gone overboard in their crusades against supernatural evils.
    • One of the game's most famous figures tops all these as the game's ur-example and an inversion. According to 3.5 mythos, Asmodeus starts out as an immensely powerful angel tasked with fighting demons and keeping them from wrecking the gods' shiny new Creation. Over time, he proves to be the very best at this task, and he and those like him take on demonic aspects to better fight and kill demons. When mortal species begin sinning and tearing down the orderly lawful framework made to keep the demons out, Asmodeus creates the concept of punishment. The gods love this new idea, and give Asmodeus and his angels the task of tormenting sinners after death, so that living mortals will understand that their actions have consequences and stop misbehaving. Asmodeus and the angels following him take to their new task of torturing the souls of sinners with relish, making the heavens run red with blood and echo with screams. Eventually, horrified by this, the gods sign a contract with Asmodeus to get him and his followers to agree to leave the celestial planes, so they can do their demon-fighting and sinner-torturing elsewhere. They do so, but only to create Hell and begin tempting mortal souls into evil to make themselves more powerful. When the gods see this and charge into Hell to stop it, Asmodeus reveals just how much he's completed his inversion of the trope, pointing out that the contract gives the devils permission to do all of this. Or at least, that's his version of what happened.

Asmodeus - "You have granted us the power to harvest souls. To build our Hell and gird our might for the task set before us, we naturally had to find ways to improve our yield."
Hieroneous - "It is your job to punish transgressions, not encourage them!"
Asmodeus smiled, and a venomous moth flew out from between his sharpened teeth
Asmodeus - "Read the fine print."

  • Magic the Gathering frequently uses this trope with White. In fact, most angels are portrayed as fanatical warmongers. Particular examples include the archangel Radiant (turns a paradise into a police state in the name of her goddess), Akroma, Angel of Wrath (leads a genocidal war to wipe out an evil organization), and Reya Dawnbringer (raises her followers from death, denying them repose).
    • Akroma's flavor quote fits nicely here. "No rest. No mercy. No matter what."
    • The Boros Legion from Ravnica. They just want to stop Ravnica's eternal guild warfare. The fact that their method for achieving this is to break huge numbers of heads, blow up a few things, and generally demonstrate the reason guild warfare is bad...is neither here nor there.
    • Yawgmoth is a Black-mana version: for him, the perfection of Phyrexia justifies any means.
    • New Phyrexia brought us two different examples: Elesh Norn, the White mana Principles Zealot, and Jin-Gitaxias, the Blue mana Totalitarian Utilitarian. Strangely enough, the two of them get along well with each other: Jin-Gitaxias even uses Elesh Norn's sacred book, the Argent Etchings, as part of the basis for his Great Synthesis.
  • The Knights of the Harrowing from Infernum might fit into this trope, or another trope entirely. They are an order of Christian Crusaders (their old name was the Knights of the Sepulchre) who deliberately decided to transport their fortress into Hell in order to exterminate every last demon, who, by the way, number in the billions...and have a reproductive system where any individual can be sacrificed to produce up to eighteen new demons (which will go from "birth" to "fully grown and ready to kill" in about six months)...and have technology roughly equivalent to the 19th century, backed by Black Magic and demonic innovation (including, but not limited to, machine guns that shoot acid, biomechanical Golems, and rudimentary guided missiles). Also a case of Honor Before Reason verging on Too Dumb to Live.
  • Peleps Deled from Exalted. Our first introduction has him sparring with a fellow monk over a minor theological point, only to brutally crush her windpipe when he trips her. The question: "Is Terrestrial Exaltation of the Dragons, or from them?" And just to further clarify, this is a man whose actual job is supposed to be hunting the Anathema, and he murders his own colleagues over prepositions (a large portion of his appeal to players and Storytellers is that while most Dragon-Bloods in the Realm can be treated as "good guys" in the right circumstances, Peleps is universally Thunderclap Rush Attack fodder).
  • Ubiquitous in New World of Darkness. Hunters, Vampires, Werewolves, Mages...all of them have the threat of becoming this hanging over them. (Hunters are "extreme risk," since they're able to modify their code to facilitate hunting... and this tends to send them over the deep end, especially since the average "veteran" hunter, i.e. one who hasn't been dismembered yet, hasn't had a good night's sleep in five years.)
  • Some Mutants and Masterminds Freedom City villains have these traits. The costumed villain Warden has a particularly extreme case: he worked on making prisons as non-cardboardy as possible, and got a bit fed up with people making that task harder by telling him that the prisoners have rights; didn't they forfeit those when they ended up in prison? His current goal is to overthrow "soft and corrupt" law and replace it with something altogether more draconian.
  • Sometimes during an In Nomine game, an angelic character will be played as a perfect Knight Templar because the angel is literally on a Mission from God. Players of demonic characters tend to avoid over-the-top behavior.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Possibly Helios from God of War 3. In the third game, he is not only very determined to destroy the Titans (his own kind in the original Greek Mythology) so that they can't triumph, but also remarkably loyal to Zeus even after revealing himself to be something of a coward. This loyalty causes extremely poorly made decisions that result in his death. Also, of all the gods in God of War 3, he is the only one who has no personal reasons to attack Kratos.
  • The Warcraft series is filled to the brim with these.
    • The Titan Sargeras was tasked originally with keeping the universe safe by battling various Eldritch Abominations, but eventually, he decided that there must be some underlying flaw in the universe and the only way to fix it and end his eternal battle was to destroy all of existence and start anew. To this task, he created the Burning Legion of demons he had imprisoned and set off on a crusade against all that exists. Most demons are in it just because they like destroying stuff.
    • In Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Arthas Menethil starts out as a headstrong young man fighting the undead. Things start going downhill when he slaughters the populace of a major human city to avoid the plagued parts of it from turning into the undead. Later, when his father, the King, commands him to come home from an expedition in the home continent of the Scourge, he has hired thugs sink his own ships and blames the whole thing on them to get an excuse to disobey the order. Eventually, he lets a good friend die in exchange for a sword that can defeat the demon he thinks is behind everything. At which point he stopped being a Knight Templar wanting to save his people and turned into an avatar of vengeance is a hotly debated topic. Some fans will avidly debate that he never stopped being a Knight Templar, given several of the views the novel revealed him to have, and the fact that after mentally reliving his actions up to the point of reawakening, he decides that he would not change, as he still believes that he made the right decisions. Rather, his fear of failure prevents him from fully realizing his own evils, even when he briefly questions himself, because to change his mind or path is to admit that his first choice was wrong, which is failure. His calm sanity and acceptance of death seems to support that he was never truly evil. Great, so Jaina WAS right, but by the time she knows, it's too late.
    • In the Expansion Pack for the same game, Frozen Throne, Maiev Shadowsong devotes her entire existence to hunting down Illidan Stormrage, whom she had been tasked to guard during his imprisonment. She eventually lies to the man who gave her this task in the first place that his wife is dead so that he would help Maiev capture Illidan instead of going to save her from certain peril. In World of Warcraft, she manages to fulfill her purpose, only to realise that her life has no meaning anymore.
    • Daelin's Proudmoore's quest to exterminate the orcs in Frozen Throne also matches this trope.
    • Meanwhile, World of Warcraft has the Scarlet Crusade, an organisation bent on destroying the undead. Over the years, they have become so paranoid about the Plague which turns people into members of the Scourge that they will attack anyone they do not recognise as a member of their organisation. Ironically, their leader, and the man who sent them down the slippery slope, is a demon in disguise, manipulating them for the sole purpose of creating a force to destroy the Scourge.
    • The Burning Crusade expansion introduced The Ethereum, the former Ethereal ruling class who declared war on The Void (and especially Dimensius) after the latter destroyed K'aresh, their homeworld. The Ethereum have become so consumed by their mission that they consider anyone who doesn't help them an enemy and have even gone to the point of infusing themselves with void energy to create nexus-stalkers, which often end up destabilizing and becoming voidwraiths.
    • Kael'thas Sunstrider's goal was to satisfy his race's addiction to magic after the Lich King corrupted the Sunwell. He aligned with Illidan and built the manaforges for this reason - to provide the blood elves with a new source of magic to replace the corrupted Sunwell. He did not become truly evil until after his first resurrection.
    • Later on, in Wrath of the Lich King, the Blue Dragonflight under Malygos also turn into this - willing to kill tens of thousands and cause irreversible ecological damage to the planet to rid the world of mortal arcane spellcasters. The Red Dragonflight and Kirin Tor agree that continued mortal use of magic will destroy Azeroth. The Blue Dragonflight is simply taking the direct approach to solving the problem.
    • Judging by the fact that the Titans created a being called Algalon the Observer to serve as a fail-safe protocol that would "re-originate" (read: annihilate all life and start over) the world and have every intention of using it, they probably qualify as well.
    • Interrogator Khan is one scary draenei.
  • Yggdrasill from Tales of Symphonia set out to resolve a war between two Magitek nations and end the world's Fantastic Racism, creating a world where everyone could be free of discrimination. One Dead Little Sister later, he's accomplishing this by splitting the world in half, grinding the humans into the dirt, and killing them off to create Metaphysical Fuel that would turn the half-elves into soulless, mindless, and lifeless beings. It never even occurs to him to consider that he hasn't got the moral high ground.
  • Grand Maestro Mohs from Tales of the Abyss is a devout follower of The Score, a set of extremely specific prophecies that say that there will be a time of great prosperity following a massive war between the two dominant countries, a war that he has tried to incite numerous times. To do this, Mohs collaborates with Master Van, the real villain of the game, who has conflicting interests with Mohs and is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Vhailor from Planescape: Torment is a member of the Mercykillers, a Planescape sect that believes in the absolute order of the law. Crime is violently punished, and rehabilitation is often not under consideration - their creed is thus: "Justice purges evil. Once all have been cleansed, the multiverse achieves perfection."
    • For more fun involving Vhailor, check out the quote page.
    • Just to help put things in perspective, Vhailor is no longer a man, but a haunted suit of armor an incarnation of justice who exists through the strength of his Mercykiller beliefs.
    • The Mercykiller faction formed when the Sodkillers (a gang preying on the Clueless) joined forces with the Sons of Mercy (a group of law-upholding citizens, some of them paladins) for unspecified reasons. The faction lived up to this portmanteau name (they kill mercy), becoming the semi-official and extremely corrupt police force. Vhailor is remembered many years after his disappearance because of his fanaticism, showing that Knights Templar are very rare among the Mercykillers. Or that Vhailor was considered insane even by Knight Templar standards.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, the Big Bad intends to cause the death of every living thing in order that they may enjoy the peace of oblivion.
  • The Knights Templar in Deus Ex Invisible War.
  • The Judicians in 2027.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy Tactics, while your main enemies in the game are the Knights Templar of the Church of Galbados, and the Church itself claims to want to destroy the monarchy and create a world of equality; in reality, the Church was founded by a demonic war lord, who, if resurrected, would bring about the end of civilization. The Big Bad is also known as the Angel of Blood.
    • Final Fantasy XII's supplemental material expands upon Ivalice's mythology and reveals that the so-called bad guys were grotesquely wronged and exploited servants of the Gods (Cu Chulainn/Queklain and Zodiark first and foremost) who have it in for the Gods who caused them so much misery. And the Bloody Angel was the Head Angel serving the Gods, and was so disgusted upon discovering how the Lucavi were treated that she went off the deep end and went Knight Templar on her masters as well. In fact, Altima is the only one of the Zodiac Stone spirits to NOT be a Lucavi - the Virgo stone is associated to a different being among the Lucavi, which is never seen but is implied to have played a large part in Altima's...well, would that be a heel-face turn or a face-heel turn?
  • Seymour Guado from Final Fantasy X believes that destroying the world of Spira and everything in it is the only way to save it from the Vicious Cycle it's trapped in (this train of thought is possibly due to his own troubled upbringing).
    • His superior, Grand Maester Yo Mika, is a variant, in that he actually wants to preserve the vicious cycle and is willing to do anything from lying to forced marriages to murder to achieve it. He doesn't actually agree with what Seymour wants to do (Auron mentions at one point that Mika and Seymour are "not of one mind", while in another, he talks about how Mika wouldn't approve of what Seymour ultimately wants) and genuinely thinks that there's no other way to stop Sin from destroying Spira besides forcing summoners to perform their Senseless Sacrifices. Nor does he think that the people of Spira are capable of governing themselves without the Church of Yevon telling them what to do, claiming that enlightened rule by the dead clergy of Yevon was better than the "misguided failures" of the living.
  • The villains of Assassin's Creed are literal and figurative Knights Templar, while the Assassin Order that Altaïr works for is made up of more moderate Well Intentioned Extremists.
    • For added irony, Al-Mualim, the leader of the Assassins, is a Knight Templar himself, and is manipulating Altaïr into killing his Templar rivals to make it easier for him to take over the Holy Land. Furthermore, his plans to take over the Holy Land will rob people of their free will, thus creating a world without conflict.
    • That seems to be the goal of the modern Templars. When you talk to Dr. Vidic in 2012, he mentions how both 12th century Earth and modern earth are the same, with society being unorganized and corrupt, and that the goal of the project he is putting Desmond through is to bring a sense of order to the world.
    • The sequel reveals that a large amount of the disorder and corruption in society comes directly from the Knights Templar to begin with. As they see themselves as the only sane and reasonable organization, eliminating individuals who are truly good and powerful, and who coincidentally interfere with their personal agendas, is entirely reasonable. To give an idea just how twisted their view is, Hitler was a member, as was Stalin. It strongly suggests, however, that a good bit of the Templars in late-1400s Italy were actually "in it" for personal gain, or otherwise using the Templar Order's ideals as political cover to be personally scummy, i.e. Marco Barbarigo. Cesare Borgia, the main antagonist of Brotherhood, doesn't even bother with that pretense and is all about military conquest and personal glory/greed, not even mentioning the Order.
  • Corrupted elements within the Church of Tyr in the Neverwinter Nights 2 mod The Maimed God's Saga start doing some pretty terrible things in the name of righteousness.
    • This leads Aribeth to the Dark Side in the original Neverwinter Nights campaign, though the fact that the enemy was screwing with her dreams probably didn't help.
  • The Order of the Flaming Rose from The Witcher is a Knight Templar organization with a Utopia Justifies the Means style of operation.
  • City of Heroes tries to portray the Malta group as this. In practice, there's little, if any, difference between what they do out of ruthlessness and what the other villains do out of greed.
    • Nemesis is another example, and one that never really pretended to be good in the first place. He's always been after the fascist control of the world, and just picked up the method of taking over or blocking dangerous heroes and villains while providing safety after the previous method of killing civilians didn't work.
    • The Countess Crey is somewhat of a Knight Templar. Originally a girl named Julianne Thompson, she started out by trying to form a team of metahumans to make the world a better place. When she was denied this due to a criminal history, she murdered a woman, took her identity, used her wealth to marry Count Crey, and then put him into a coma so that she could act out her plan. Most of Crey's work is well intentioned, but her methods are downright evil...
    • Longbow's dogged pursuit of justice is so single minded that, in one arc, they attempt to arrest every member of Vanguard over a few rogue operatives. Vanguard has long been controversial due to it's policy of accepting both Heroes and Villains as members, but the general consensus is that arresting every member would be a very bad idea. What makes it even more ridiculous is that Vanguard is a branch of the UN, and Longbow's just a private company.
    • Scirocco is also a textbook example, planning to use magic in order to force good on every villain in the world.
  • Both the Brotherhood of Nod and the Global Defense Initiative of Command & Conquer can be considered Knights Templar, especially in the later games, where the more "good guy" traits of GDI start getting subsumed in their aggressive ruthlessness after Nod attacks them.
  • The AI ODE System from Super Robot Wars is an AI example of this. When its creator, Wilhelm Juergen, had a breakdown, it got reprogrammed to gather humans together in one network to protect Earth from aliens. It took its orders very literally and went on a mass kidnapping and absorbing spree, eventually going after its creator.
  • Saren, the villain/Dragon of Mass Effect 1, was an extremely violent Knight Templar during his tenure as a Spectre, prior to the events of the actual game, where he became more of a Dark Messiah.
    • In Mass Effect 2, the asari are shown to have a group of Knights Templar, the Justicars. Sworn to obliterate evil and corruption wherever they find it, they are lauded as heroes (heroines?) for their exploits and dedication, but most asari would rather not have them in the immediate vicinity due to their rather strict definitions of "corruption" and their reputation as merciless killers. Having one on a planet outside asari space, where they could interact more readily with other species, is seen as a diplomatic disaster waiting to happen.
    • Subverted by recruitable character Justicar Samara. As seen above, Justicars have a reputation for mercilessness and extremism in the pursuit of justice, but when you meet Samara, she turns out to be rather reasonable. Although she still follows the Justicar code to the letter, Samara is content to use Loophole Abuse to avoid harming innocent people if at all possible. And she is willing to work with Renegade Shepard because she recognizes the larger threat, but does tell him that if they ever cross paths afterward, she will kill him (she, obviously, has no problem working with Paragon Shepard).
      • A notable example of her Loophole Abuse occurs in the third game, when the monastery where her two living daughters reside is destroyed with one of her daughters killed in the process. Her daughters suffer from a rare genetic condition amongst Asari that turn them into essentially sexual serial killers that can seduce anyone but kill them in the process and voluntarily lived in the monastery built for Asari of this condition to allow them to survive safely outside of society. The Justicar code doesn't allow any Asari with this condition to live outside the monastery so with it destroyed she has no choice but to kill her last living daughter, and instead points her gun at herself to avoid the conflict. Shepard can prevent her suicide and propose an alternative.
    • Garrus is this in Mass Effect 2. Before you pick him up as a party member, he is under the guise of Archangel, who, with a squad, murders his way through the criminal underworld of Omega. He's still a badass, but he is not too worried about killing criminals anymore.
  • X and the Maverick Hunters start to fall into this in Mega Man X 4 and X5. Fast-forward 100 years to Mega Man Zero and Copy-X is protecting humans by mass extermination of innocent Reploids. Had it not been for the Executive Meddling of Keiji Inafune by Capcom, it would have been the real X himself who became such a villain.
  • In STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl, the C-Consciousness Project is this. Conceived to rid the world of all destructive and negative human emotion, its members accidentally cause a spatial tear that causes the several kilometres around its site to become a desolate, radioactive wasteland fraught with dangerous mutants ("The Zone"). To prevent discovery of their project by those seeking valuable artifacts in The Zone, they use various devices that result in death and/or zombification of those who come near. Anyone who makes it past is diverted to what is believed by all to be an omnipotent wish granting device, but in reality, it brainwashes the wisher into becoming a minion of the project, either as part of the official death squad, or as mindwiped individuals who have a singular mission to carry out, but aren't sure why. The player character begins as one of these individuals.
  • Despite the name, the Protoss High Templar from StarCraft may or may not be like this. But one of the major characters, Aldaris, is a Knight Templar to the core. At first, he didn't care whether Tassadar was contacting the Dark Templar for the good of the Protoss race in general because he knows that they are the only ones who can destroy the Overmind; he violated the Conclave's orders, so he must be arrested. He got better after seeing Tassadar and Zeratul's efforts (also Raynor's) to defeat the Overmind and started supporting them, but in Brood Wars, once again, he acts as a Knight Templar, refusing to work with Kerrigan while the others had no choice but to ally with her. Unfortunately, this is the only time where his actions were actually RIGHT. And he's killed soon after. By Kerrigan, who reveals that she's been using the rest of the Protoss the whole time.
    • The Zerg Overmind, with its will to infest everything—especially the Protoss—in order to create the perfect species, might also count.
    • The UED from the expansion pack definitely are this: they just want to protect the Terrans, but that really means A) taking them over and B) wiping out all opposition, thus, making enemies of everyone.
  • The ending for Siegfried in SoulCalibur IV causes him to say, after defeating Nightmare, "With this... it ends." "Our kind must not exist in this world; not ever again." This causes SoulCalibur to crystallize him, Siegfried, and Soul Edge...as the screen fades to black, the epilogue says that the world will soon be "covered in crystals, making it a utopia without wars or suffering." Whether this is Siegfried's choice or Soul Calibur's is unknown.
    • Cassandra's ending makes it pretty clear that SoulCalibur has a serious Knight Templar streak. She is so fed up with what her sister, Sophitia, has become because of SoulCalibur that, after destroying Soul Edge, she destroys Soul Calibur as well.
    • Confirmed in SoulCalibur V: Soul Calibur fakes Cassandra's form to manipulate her son Patroklos to kill his sister Phyrra, the wielder of Soul Edge. After unleashing its true power, the sword subtly mind controls him to assure him he can't save her, and when he kills her, the sword dumps his soul into a void while it turns the world to crystal. After the Edge Master hits the Reset Button, Patroklos sees through the illusion and Soul Calibur gets infuriated at his defiance of its goals and tries to kill his spirit so it can take his body by force, and manifests itself as Elysium, the True Final Boss of the story mode. Light Is Not Good indeed.
  • Hotaru from Mortal Kombat: Deception is fanatically devoted to order. In the game's story mode, he imprisons the main character (who had been allied with him) for unknowingly breaking curfew...and decades pass before he gets his appointed trial.
  • The goddess Ashera from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. About 700 years prior to the events of the game, the world made a covenant with Ashera. She would sleep for 1,000 years, and if she is awoken by war, she would destroy the world without hesitation. She was awoken when her counterpart Yune was freed from the titular MacGuffin, so she turned 99.99% of the world's population to stone instead. Those who remained fought back, so she freed some people, gave them blessed arms, and sent them after the survivors. This turns out predictably, since one of the survivors is Ike.
  • In Ultima V, Lord Blackthorn usurps Britannia's throne and turns the virtues, formerly self-imposed moral guidelines, into enforced laws (for example, forcing the people to donate to charity or face execution). The results are predictable.
    • This, arguably, is also one of the reasons why humility is considered the final, eighth virtue in Ultima. Despite not being directly based on Truth, Love, or Courage, the game says that Truth, Love, and Courage cannot exist with the virtue's opposite, Pride.
  • In Ninety-Nine Nights, the Ax Crazy Inphyy is this. She's a light-empowered swordswoman (she's even an officer in an order that calls itself the "Temple Knights") who is so utterly convinced that the goblins and other races that follow the Dark are Exclusively Evil monsters, that she'll go so far as to cut down little goblin children without missing a beat. Even her similarly-powered but far more sane brother Aspharr calls her out on this in a What the Hell, Hero? moment.
    • Averted in the end as she does ally with the Goblins to take down the King of Nights. Still, if Kalarrnn had not spoken to her, she might have tried to kill both demon and goblin.
  • In Drakengard 2, Nowe's friend and fellow Knight of the Seal Eris is a definite Knight Templar at first, rationalizing her superiors' questionable actions, threatening to harm Nowe when he expresses doubt about the Knights' righteousness, and sporting a disturbing smirk when about to burn Manah at the stake. Luckily, she wises up eventually...even if it took General Gismor using her as a human shield and leaving her to die for her to do so. Gismor himself does not fit the bill: he doesn't care about justice or order, only personal power.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has an order of zealous knights who are actually called the Templars.
    • This is ultimately a subversion, as the leader is more concerned with seizing power than he is with enforcing the Goddess's will.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series in general has Knight Templars up the ass; if a character is on the Law side, there's a very strong chance that they'll be one, especially the Angels and the Order of Messiah. Some examples:
    • The Law Hero gets to be like this near the end of Shin Megami Tensei I, and all the higher-ups on the Law side of the spectrum (who are all worshippers of the Path of Inspiration) are a version of this - including the protagonist, if the player so chooses.
    • And then we have God himself in Shin Megami Tensei II, who takes this trope to such an extreme that even his angels are in opposition to him.
    • Keisuke in Devil Survivor summons Yama to murder those he deems to be bad people, and depending on your choices, he either realizes what he's done and becomes The Atoner, or dies at the hands of one of Kaido's demons.
      • Averted with Remiel and Amane, along with the game's take on God. God and pals are quite willing to support humanity's existence; it's just that they've put humanity on trial to see if they truly deserve the power. Should you follow Amane's ending path, you go on to become The Messiah, leading humanity in God's stead.
    • The Three Wise Men, Mastema, and, by extension, Mastema's underling Zelenin in Strange Journey want to bring about a World of Silence.
  • Gamma, Joules, and Drazil in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters are this trope incarnate. The 'Utopia' they have created and molded to their own ideals can at best be described as 'an utter nightmare'. Even the resident Omnicidal Maniac is disgusted by it.
  • In the 2-D Fallout games (Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics Brotherhood of Steel), the Brotherhood of Steel fits this trope quite well. The California branch (Fallout/Fallout 2) is dedicated to recovering Lost Technology from across the Scavenger World they live in, and they refuse to help anyone who is not part of their organization, even when it would not even hurt them to lend a hand. The Mid-Western branch (Fallout Tactics) set themselves up as post-apocalyptic feudal lords who will go to any ends to ensure justice—though they're better than the other factions trying to control the Mid-West, all of whom are either insane or outright evil.
    • In Fallout 3, the Washington DC branch abandoned the Knight Templar dogma of their founders and have put their resources towards defending the Capital Wasteland from the Super-Mutants. However, some of them disagreed with this shift in policy and formed their own group called the Brotherhood Outcasts—their goals are more in line with the original Californian Brotherhood of Steel, which is to say, more selfish.
    • This becomes an issue in Fallout: New Vegas where the Mojave branch of the Brotherhood is crippled by their xenophobic and isolationist nature, to the frustration of Veronica, a scribe who wished that they'd actually do something progressive with their tech. In fact, if she chooses to join the humanitarian Followers of the Apocalypse at the end of her companion quest, it ends with a few BoS members trying to kill her for possibly spreading information and traumatizing her horribly in the process.
    • Outside of the Brotherhood, we have President John Henry Eden, who just wants to "rebuild America"...by wiping out anyone with a trace of mutation, even benign or unnoticeable ones. Since radiation is so pervasive in the world of Fallout, and since radiation mutates whole organisms (rather than individual cells) in this world, President Eden's plan would kill many more people than it would actually save. Exactly how he intends to help Americans rebuild their country by killing them all is never explained. A smart or charismatic enough Lone Wanderer can actually point out this logical flaw in his plan, convincing him to self-destruct.
    • In New Vegas, there's Sheriff Meyers. One of the three possible sheriffs you can recruit for the town of Primm. His swearing in speech is simply "Be good...or I'll shoot you dead."
    • Another New Vegas example comes from the Honest Hearts DLC: Joshua Graham, also known as The Burned Man. A Mormon missionary sworn to protect the Dead Horse tribals and the co-founder and former Legate of Caesar's Legion, even as The Atoner, he's a vicious General Ripper absolutely one hundred percent okay with wiping out another tribe down to the last man for posing a threat to them - not just fighting them off, but destroying them utterly, including cold-blooded executions, if need be. Apart from that, he means well. And the tribe that he wants to wipe out did massacre his people, want to join Caesar's Legion, and celebrate rape and murder. So Joshua does come out looking better...in comparison, at least.
  • The Order of the Hammer in Thief. In Thief 2: The Metal Age, the Mechanists emerge as "templars within the templars", scorning the antiquated aims of their brethren in favor of something even more extreme. Their leader, Father Karras, is even worse.
  • Leo from Lunar: Eternal Blue starts off as this. Thankfully, he is more open-minded than most other examples of this trope and once he realises that the church he works for is actually trying to resurrect the dark god, he switches sides.
  • Count Vulgar—er, Veger from Jak 3 Wastelander certainly deserved a place. He didn't like Dark Eco. That was OK, nobody particularly liked Dark Eco. However, he exiled and repeatedly attempted to kill Jak, whose Dark Eco powers let him save the world at the end of the previous game. He even described himself as "the glorious light that burns away the shadows" in between attempts to turn Haven City into a totalitarian theocracy under his rule, subverting Utopia Justifies the Means because it wasn't really going to be that much of a utopia with a psychotic zealot like Veger in charge.
  • The Catholic Church as depicted in Tsukihime and, to a lesser extent, Fate Stay Night (where the Knight Templar would probably more be Emiya Kiritsugu, since the church is mostly connected with Kotomine here) is obsessed with killing all vampires and other non-humans. A prime example is when Ciel resurrected for the first time: they killed her for a month straight, nonstop and rather messily, before giving up because she cannot die while Roa lives. They also appear to have a mild hands off/EnemyMine approach regarding Arcueid...mostly because there is no way they could possibly kill her and they don't want to make her mad.
  • Over the course of the Metal Gear Solid series, it turns out that the Patriots, the amoral organization controlling the government, was founded by a benevolent group of people who only wanted to change the world for the better. However, their leader became so insistent on keeping order, he started resorting to more and more questionable methods, finally leaving control in the hands of A.I. units that did not put any value on human life.
  • Shadowbane has the Temple of the Cleansing Flame, who get literal templars as a pert of their class options.
  • Officer Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas...at least, he thinks he is. Every action he takes suggests otherwise.
  • The Whitecloaks in The Wheel of Time game, faithful to the source universe.
  • The Chantry templars of Dragon Age are interesting studies of this behavior. While they do hunt down bad mages, many of them have a hard time differentiating a bad mage from a perfectly good one, and are all too willing to completely purge the Mage's Circle if anything goes wrong. This has happened at least once per century for the last seven hundred years. According to the Codex, candidates for the order are chosen first and foremost for religious conviction and martial aptitude. They're administered lyrium in order to assist them in fighting evil mages - but a conversation with Alistair implies that the entire purpose of the lyrium is to get them addicted, ensuring their loyalty. They track and destroy dangerous rogue mages - but a conversation with Wynne implies that many mage-hunters take a sadistic pleasure in their work, and two sidequests can result in the Chantry considering an Exalted March against the dwarven city of Orzammar.
    • What makes the Chantry even more interesting is that this is subverted just as often as it is played straight. While there are definitely those templars who are extreme in their methods, the Warden meets quite a few who are more reasonable and pragmatic. They are partially justified because what they guard against—demonic possession from the Fade—is real, subtle, and very, very dangerous.
    • The Grey Wardens themselves also offer an interesting variation on this, both subverting this and playing it very straight. The Wardens are single-mindedly determined to defeat the Blights whenever they arise, whilst remaining vigilant in the shadows when they are not. What makes the Wardens an interesting variation when subverting this is that they remain politically neutral in all internal affairs, often serving in a diplomatic capacity between nations and factions, while accepting members of all races and nations in Thedas without a thought. In this capacity, the Wardens can be seen as an order of Warrior Monks who maintain and attempt to keep the peace in Thedas. However, when the Blights and the Darkspawn emerge once more, all bets are suddenly off in what the Wardens will do, which, as we're often reminded in the game, can lead to, as Alistair puts it, "some pretty extreme things". The Wardens will, in these circumstances, accept former or active Blood Mages, burn down innocent villages in order to protect more vital ones, potentially side with and thus gain contingent of Werewolves to help defend cities, authorise the creation of Golems (who are completely self aware, but have no free will), and will forcibly recruit people into their order, even Loghain.
    • Awakening gives you the option to either save the Warden stronghold of Vigil's Keep or the City of Amaranthine at the expense of the other. It's potentially possible to do both and keep all of your companions alive afterwards, but this is not easily done. There is also the option to keep the Architect, a sentient Darkspawn, alive so he can continue his research into removing the Hive Mind connection the Darkspawn have to the Archdemons.
    • Dragon Age II has the option to choose between various backstories of the first game. The full-on Knight Templar option is by no means light, aptly titled "No Compromise".
    • In Dragon Age II, Anders eventually becomes one of these, due to becoming an abomination and fusing with Justice, turning the spirit into Vengeance. The influence of Vengeance, coupled with Ander's hatred for the templars and bitterness toward the oppression that mages suffer under, means that Anders/Vengeance is ultimately driven to plot a terror attack on the Kirkwall Chantry to force the conflict into an all-out war.
    • Knight-Commander Meredith, the leader of the Templars, is the very embodiment of the Knight Templar archetype, resorting to whatever means she can to ensure that mages don't go out of control, considering it her painful but righteous duty to suppress any free will that mages might exhibit, all the while rigidly clinging to her faith in the Maker and her position as His 'humble servant'. She falls into a short crisis of faith during the final battle, when she is close to falling, but instantly reassures herself that the Maker is with her, and continues the fight with renewed zealous conviction.
    • Even before Meredith, you had Ser Alric, who proposed a "final solution" to the mage problem in the form of making ALL mages Tranquil. And, from the start of the game, we had Sister Petrice. At first, she's content to get someone killed in order to highlight how "barbaric" the Qunari are and what a blight they are to the Chantry, but she takes this several steps higher when she murders the Viscount's son in cold blood because A) he was a convert to the Qun, and B) so she could make up a sob story about a Qunari supporter {Hawke) having killed the man while he was in the Chantry itself repenting his sins and coming back to the fold. Yea, she's a Complete Monster that way.
    • Amusingly, the entire existence of the Templars is because of a compromise between two Knight Templar positions back at the origin of the Chantry. The Old Tevinter Imperium held out for a system where all non-mages (and any mage not powerful enough to avoid being shackled) would be serfs or slaves, existing only at the pleasure of the powerful. The Chantry rebels, on the other hand, wanted the extermination of every mage-talented person alive. The Templar-and-Circle system was proposed as a way to prevent the rise of a new Tevinter while simultaneously avoiding genocide.
  • Sofia Lamb, leader of a sinister cult in the ruined undersea dystopia of Rapture during the events of BioShock 2, is this. She believes that utopia cannot precede the utopian, plans on making humanity devoid of free will and self-awareness, and thinks that every action must be for the "Greater Good". She doesn't care about any moral arguments, individual pain, or suffering caused by her philosophy (kidnapping girls from the surface to make more Little Sisters to keep a bunch of insane mutated folk living in an abandoned underwater dystopia with a large supply of mutagenic drugs, because, in her mind, the pleasure gained by the Splicers overrules the suffering to the girls' families, is perfectly acceptable), and plans on injecting her daughter with all the minds of Rapture, making her into a mindless...thing that only serves the "common good" as defined by Sofia. It's even worse than it sounds.
  • In Baldurs Gate 2, Jahiera's personal quest revolves around a radical branch of the Harpers who believe that you must die due to your nature as a Bhaalspawn, regardless of whether you're a heroic person or not.
  • Agent Edgar Ross of Red Dead Redemption considers the outlaws of the Old West to be complete monsters and sees no problems with kidnapping the wife and son of the Retired Outlaw John Marston (Atoner or not) and using them as hostages to get him to go out and kill his former gang. And he spits out a "The Reason You Suck" Speech every single time he sees John. He also really does not like Karma Houdinis.

"...Everyone will eventually pay for what they've done."

    • Ironically, he's a Karma Houdini himself...Until Jack Marston avenges his father.
  • Cyrus from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is out to create a world without war or conflict. To achieve this, he plans to destroy the current universe and rewrite it from scratch (possibly without emotion, depending on which version you play). At heart, he's still a pacifist, but boy does he know how to stretch the definition of that.
    • Pokémon Black and White's Team Plasma take the definition in its most literal form—the members are dressed as Crusade-era knights, complete with Chi Rho on their chest cloth, and they claim that their mission is to "save" Pokémon from human enslavement. They look the part, for sure, and given the recent Serebii update, the methods involve theft to carry this out, so acting the part's guaranteed. It turns out that Team Plasma doesn't follow this trope one hundred percent -- it's all a front for Ghetsis, one of the Seven Sages, to conquer Unova and be the only one allowed to use Pokémon. It is ambiguous how many Team Plasma members were truly in it for the cause they claimed -- the only one for sure being their figurehead leader and Ghetsis's son, N -- who's the least evil of the lot.
  • The White Mantle of Guild Wars sacrifices people who have the ability to open a gateway to the Realm of Torment to power the seals keeping the gateway closed. Their gods, the Mursaat, also qualify, although they're also motivated by self-interest; a prophecy says that when the gateway is opened, they'll be wiped out.
  • In Might and Magic VII, there are clear signs of some back-story between the good Church of the Sun and the evil Church of the Moon, showing that the Church of the Sun put too much emphasis on defeating the Moonies and not enough on, for instance, taking care not to leave too much of Erathia and its environs a seared wasteland.
  • Just to push the point at how righteous he is, we have Ky Kiske and his Knight Templar-tastic theme "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)". He gets better.
  • Lt. Carter Blake in Heavy Rain qualifies, considering the fact that he beats suspects to get answers and tries to kill an innocent man because he thinks that he is the Origami Killer.
  • Goldman from House of the Dead. Okay, so his goal is to protect nature from man's depredation. That's a noble goal and quite understandable. Then he says that he plans to do this by returning man to his "natural state". Pretty worrying, but not that villainous. And then he mentions that he plans to accomplish this via a Zombie Apocalypse. Okay, now that's taking things a little too far.
  • The guards from Oblivion? Probably due more to the game's AI for them, but so much as touch something that doesn't belong to you and -- STOP! YOU'VE VIOLATED THE LAW!!!!
    • It's just as bad across the other parts of the Elder Scrolls series. So much as sleep in public in Daggerfall and you've suddenly got guards crawling out the woodwork, all of them shouting at you to HALT!
  • Edna Strickland of the Back to The Future Telltale Game certainly counts. She had prudish tendencies before (which runs in the family), but it gets cranked Up to Eleven in the third episode - she and Citizen Brown have turned Hill Valley into a police state in order to rid it of vice, and she later sentences her own husband to be tortured and brainwashed for daring to disagree with her.
  • Ishida Mitsunari from Sengoku Basara is out to avenge the death of his liege lord at the hands of the villainous Tokugawa Ieyasu, and believes himself to be the only righteous person (aside from his friend Yoshitsugu) in Japan. All those who will not repent their villainous ways and join his noble cause are vile betrayers to be cleansed as the sinners they are. From anyone else's point of view, Mitsunari is an extremely fanatical and angry man lacking a purpose in life beyond his revenge, and Ieyasu is, for the most part, a (slightly hypocritical) Love Freak whose repeated attempts at reasoning with Mitsunari only makes Mitsunari angrier.
  • Dark Souls has Allfather Lloyd, a lore figure and the leader of Thorolund and Way of the White covenant. He organized a religion based around hunting undead and sacrificing them to prolong the Age of Fire. The Darkwraiths would likely have been Knight Templar EvilCounterparts to the Way of White if they didn't go Drunk with Power and become Exclusively Evil.

Web Animation[edit | hide]

  • The main villains of Broken Saints, Lear and Gabriel, fall pretty firmly into this territory.


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  • Miko Miyazaki in The Order of the Stick, a paladin who went from uptight but lawful good to executing the head of her own holy order out of paranoia. Unlike most misguided villains, she went to her grave completely convinced that what she was doing was right. (There's some controversy about this, though; people on the forums observed that from what little data she was getting, it really did look sort of like the Order of the Stick was working for Xykon. That said, her most ardent defenders have never called her sociable.) She is right about Belkar.
    • Miko might have realized that she was wrong after talking to Soon, which could have started the process that led to redemption. However, she was dying, and there was no time for her to improve herself. Yet another possibility is that she became fully insane sometime between her major setback and her death. Her thought patterns and behavior certainly do nothing to refute that possibility.
    • Redcloak certainly fits this trope. After all, he hates all humans (although, to be fair, they destroyed his home town and killed most of his family). His master plan is to threaten to release a Lovecraftian entity which could destroy the world in order to blackmail the gods into making goblins more equal (in the OotS universe, they were created as Cannon Fodder for PCs to kill), and his back-up plan is to let this happen anyway so the world can be recreated with his god having a say. This version of the goblins' origin was told by an evil god that sponsors Redcloak's plan to blackmail the rest of the gods, and the goblins that do not follow this god, like Redcloak's own brother, were shown to coexist with humans peacefully. Redcloak almost messed everything up by being greedy, but after spending time with his brother's family, he started to realize that maybe there was another way. That was until Xykon returned and forcibly conscripted the peaceful goblins of Redcloak's brother's village. Sadly, with Xykon's return, Redcloak abandoned the notion of peaceful co-existence for the furtherance of the plan, killing his own brother in the process.
  • Raf Maliksh in Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire: as the Champion of Law, he took it upon himself to take whatever steps necessary to ensure order - including performing human (well, elf) sacrifices and massacring anyone even associated with the rebellion against him - and when he fell from power, he created The Chosen, a chaos-worshiping cult that he intended to 'purify' the world with. He was so deep in this trope that when he created a personification of Justice, it refused to even listen to him.
  • Captain SNES: Alex's captor, Ryan, in the "present", acts like a Knight Templar.
  • In It's Walky!, after a particularly painful sequence of events, Sal snaps and goes on a quest to eradicate the evil that the Martians have brought to Earth, which eventually results in her coldly attempting to beat her own brother to death after he attempts to reach out to her, before deciding to wipe out everyone who was ever abducted by the Martians with an alien super-weapon - with the fact that this will also wipe out the entire continent of North America being of little concern to her.
  • The Gatekeepers in Schlock Mercenary were definitely an example of this trope, cloning and murdering multiple times the entire population of the Milky Way galaxy in order to suppress teraport technology to maintain peace with the immensely powerful Paan'uri before Petey showed them that they've been deceived all along and the Paan'uri were planning to destroy the galaxy anyway.
  • Kore the dwarven paladin in Goblins, who killed an innocent child because there was a slight chance that he might grow up evil (he was "tainted" from having associated with the so-called "monster" races). The child comes from a genuinely noble dwarven clan and was kidnapped by the monster races. That's right—if you get kidnapped under Kore's watch, your life is over either way.
    • In the past, Kore attempted to claim possession of a powerful axe from a good paladin. In their first encounter, the paladin was deafened; in their second encounter, Kore began by murdering the paladin's wife and children.
  • Vashiel from Misfile is one of these in his Backstory. Apparently, he went too far in punishing a city.
  • Professor Broadshoulders from Zebra Girl was cursed by a demon in his youth (the curse takes the form of a "yucky face" branded on his forehead), and swore to stop similar things from happening to anyone else. To this end, he tries to kill Sandra, who is a good person despite having been turned into a demon. Recently, it was revealed that the yucky face was actually a demonic third eye, which Broadshoulders opened, damning himself in an attempt to drag Sandra down to hell with him. Ironically, their fight in hell is what pushes Sandra over the edge, from just wanting to be normal to reveling in the infliction of pain.
  • Miranda West in The Wotch turns out to be an extreme but subtle and secretive case of this.
  • Leono from Sluggy Freelance.

Leono: Aylee, God will strike you down for this unforgivable betrayal!
Aylee: *Sigh* You're so lucky that God always feels the same way you do.

  • Security Chief Parahexavoctal in Buck Godot Zap Gun for Hire will do anything to enforce his version of keeping the peace, including opening entire embassies to the vacuum of space.
  • Abraham from El Goonish Shive is a combination of Knight Templar, Punch Clock Villain, Necessarily Evil, and Idiot Hero.
  • The Manumitor in City of Reality is willing to kill AV rather than allow her to remain magically transformed into a computer program because of his crusade against transformational magic. Fortunately, he comes around after saving the life of his protege...and being revealed as The Atoner.
  • Templar in Twokinds started out as the comic's equivalent of D&D / Warcraft Paladins. Then a high ranking official went crazy from trying to rez his dead wife and usurped the order, and they now ruthlessly hunt down the Beastmen to "protect humanity".
  • Seymour from Nosfera fights and kills vampires and other monsters. That's fine and dandy for evil ones like Brahm, but he also goes after good ones too. Rather ruthlessly as well.
  • Doctor McNinja is typically a good guy, but he can get rather extreme when King Radical, a guy whose actions have been for the enrichment of the community, is involved.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Mujahedin, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, are Islamic superheroes who use Shariah law as a guideline to how much force to use against the criminals they face...which means that they kill a lot of criminals. They're also fairly harsh against non-Muslims, liberal Muslims, and anyone who thinks the Mujahedin crossed the Moral Event Horizon a time or two. They also fall squarely into the realm of Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters when it comes to their views on Israel.
  • Most worshippers of Khersis in Tales of MU come off this way towards the main character as a result of Fantastic Racism, owing to the fact that she's a Half-Human Hybrid-demon and their god's portfolio includes protecting humanity from demons.
    • The incipient paladin Gloria from her mixed melee class comes off as this, as well. Her characterization starts off painting her as just another run-of-the-mill fundamentalist, but when she starts to engage in activities that might seriously harm Mack, like sanctifying herself before battle and uttering prayers as Mack goes to meditate, which may indicate a slippage towards Black and White Insanity, she becomes this.
    • The emancipated golem Two also comes off as this in a much less malicious way. She has a pathological desire to do as she is told, and so she takes rules very seriously, sometimes to such a degree that she causes problems for herself and her friends.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Megatron from Beast Machines willed the establishment of total order by eradicating free will. After conquering Cybertron by disabling the Transformer population, he extracted every single one of their sparks and stored them away. He intended to absorb every spark into his consciousness to create a perfect, technologically precise entity.
    • This seems unusually unpleasant even for Megatron, yeees.
  • Two examples from The Real Ghostbusters:
    • In "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream", the titular creature seeks to end war - by making the entire human race sleep for 500 years.
    • In "Ragnarok and Roll", a depressed young man with a broken heart decides to end human suffering - by using a magic flute to play a "song of destruction" that will end the world.
  • Most of the Superman the Animated Series episode "Brave New Metropolis" takes place in a Mirror Universe where Lois Lane's death has turned Superman into a tyrant who cooperates with Lex Luthor.
  • The two-part Justice League adventure "A Better World" featured a vaguely similar plot to the above. It featured the League's Mirror Universe equivalents, the Well Intentioned Extremists called the Justice Lords, who decided to end crime by ruling their world as fascist dictators. Interestingly, in this version, the straw that broke the camel's back was Superman killing Luthor, in response to his murder of the Flash. The aftermath of this encounter was seen in the first two seasons of Justice League Unlimited.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Patriot Act", General Wade Eiling takes a Super Serum in order to take out Superman, as he feels metahumans, aliens, and any other powered being on Earth is a threat to humanity. Unfortunately, Supes is off planet and confronts a group of leaguers that technically have no powers: Stargirl, STRIPE, Shining Knight, Vigilante, Green Arrow, and later the Crimson Avenger and Speedy.
  • Superman: Doomsday had Superman's clone turn into this. He's obsessed with protecting Metropolis but decides that he should have the final word on how it's protected, leading him to brutally slaughter Toyman for the murder of a 4-year-old girl.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "Time and Punishment" introduced a futuristic version of the character, Darkwarrior Duck, who not only ran every bad guy out of St. Canard, but was now enforcing his iron will on its citizens for such "crimes" as staying out too late and eating too much junk food.
  • Nerissa, the villain of season two of WITCH, seeks to rule the universe in order to stop all conflict and war. She eventually gets this wish, if only as an illusionary world that she's unwittingly trapped in for all eternity.
  • Alvin from Sabrina the Animated Series. He starts off as a Ridiculously Cute Critter Morality Pet for Sabrina, but guess what happens when she neglects him and leaves the spooky jar out.
  • Demona from Gargoyles thinks that she's on a just crusade to destroy the human race because it is Exclusively Evil and dangerous. Nearly everyone else, though, can see that Demona's an incredibly damaged individual lashing out at anyone who gets close enough to her.
    • Goliath, when he used the Eye of Odin to protect Elisa and Angela. When they complained that the eye was making him crazy, he got pissed.
    • The Hunters and the Quarrymen may have started out as He Who Fights Monsters, but they turned into genocidal villains. It's understandable if they want to kill Demona, who's trying to wipe out humanity, but they want to kill all the innocent gargoyles, too. To give you an idea of just how bad this is, in the episode that introduced the Hunters, one of them, presumably a rookie, questioned the Hunters' desire to kill all Gargoyles, stating that Demona was their group's original target. One of the other Hunters grabs him by the throat and threatens to kill him for even suggesting that any Gargoyle deserves to live.
      • Those two hunters? They're brothers.
  • Ultra Magnus in Transformers Animated, who is perfectly willing to suppress the truth in order to maintain order. He also urges his subordinates to do the same.
  • General Crozier from Metalocalypse, at least until Mr. Salacia took over his mind in the Season Two finale.
  • South Park has thrown this label around on a number of occasions, sometime becoming rather insufferable with it.
    • Cartman especially exhibited this in the Coon and Friends episode, destroying all that annoyed him with Cthulhu.
    • The Knights of Standards and Practices in "It Hits The Fan". Granted, they were somewhat justified because cursewords were curse words and "shit" was causing an epidemic, but they seemed fine with killing people who were not the masterminds behind this incident.
    • In the movie, Kyle's mom is this, although it doesn't prevent her from being a Complete Monster, seeing as she starts a war, a genocide against Canadians, and nearly causes Armageddon all in the name of cleaning up the entertainment industry.
  • Jet from Avatar: The Last Airbender in his first appearance, as he was willing to wipe out a village just to get back at the Fire Nation. He got better.
    • Wan Shi Tong, the Spirit of the Library, only allows Team Avatar into his library if they swear that they are only seeking knowledge for knowledge's sake, not for military purposes. Horror ensues when he attempts to trap them in his library eternally after discovering that they've broken their word.
    • The Equalitists from the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra. Their quest for equality for non-benders is realised through terrorism and what amounts to soul rape.
      • Tarrlok also counts, responding to the Equalist threat by setting curfews against non-benders and arresting any who complain. People are also arrested simply for having associated with Equalists.
  • Von Goosewing on Count Duckula can't get it into his head that Duckula's an exception to the bloodthirsty vampire norm. Nor does he want to.
  • Mr Krabs of SpongeBob SquarePants is determined to punish his rival Plankton for his unscrupulous deeds, even when he is using perfectly legitimate methods. Taken to extremes in "Plankton's Regular", where Plankton finally gains one regular customer and offers to call a truce with Krabs in return for keeping him. Krabs immediately becomes obsessed with taking away said customer.
  • In Futurama, a robotic Santa Claus has been programmed to determine who is naughty and who is nice. Unfortunately, his standards for nice are set too high - everyone except Dr. Zoidberg is considered naughty, and to make matters worse, he ain't limited to putting coal in your stocking. He's more likely to turn you to charcoal instead.
  • The Forever Knights in the Ben 10 franchise. Their founder Old George fought an evil alien "dragon" from another dimension back in the Middle Ages. The Knights assume that all aliens are just as bad as the one George fought ages ago and act accordingly.


Other[edit | hide]

  • Most of the world's great religious teachers have identified "righteousness gone postal" as a major source of suffering and often the prophesied end of the religion and/or world. One example, from Matthew: 12:43 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. :44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. :45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.
  • The Order of Mata Nui from Bionicle is a secret organization, and as such, they do not need to show morals (as nobody would judge their actions) and have no problems doing unethical things, like imprisoning many without giving them a chance at parole and experimenting on and modifying a species to use as soldiers against the Brotherhood of Makuta (although the race as a whole doesn't have a problem with the changes and continues to aid their mysterious benefactors).
  1. which turn out not to be stolen goods at all, but instead, her deformed baby