One of the nine alignments from the best-known Character Alignment system. Lawful Neutral characters believe in order - both personal and systemic - above all else. They will always seek to obey and preserve order, even to the inconvenience of themselves and others, and even if they themselves admit the law in question is an annoying one. While a Lawful Good character may justify breaking his code of conduct by appealing to the greater good or a cosmic Justice that transcends all things, a Lawful Neutral character rarely will since the greater good does not enter into it. An important thing to note is that Lawful Neutral characters follow their own personal order and law. This order may be defined by the laws of their current location, or it might not: Lawful Neutral characters will not obey every law they ever encounter, only those that are part of or do not conflict with the code they themselves obey.
Lawful Neutral comes in a number of different forms:
- Type 1 are those who believe in Authority first and foremost- it is the context that matters more than the conten;, the rules matter because they give order to society more than they matter themselves. They might go so far as to believe (possibly correctly) that their superiors have the right to interpret or define the rules as they see fit. Such characters believe in My Country / My Master, Right or Wrong, though the average example is someone who obeys any figure of authority (say, a policeman) without question, possibly even with admiration. In more extreme cases, this can lead to Just Following Orders, and whether or not they slip into Knight Templar or Lawful Evil territory is a question of whether said authority is evil and is getting them to commit atrocities- however, most Lawful Neutral's still have moral lines they won't cross, and if their ethics are pushed too far they will disobey.
- Type 2 are those who believe in the Rules ahead of everything else- they will hold those above them to it as surely as they will those below, without regard to authority (unless said rules favour authority, of course), but will follow the rules to the letter. A Type 2 follows the content, not the context- they believe in these rules, with a passion, and will pretty much equate them with moral truth. In other words, they see themselves as Lawful Good, but fail to qualify because they or the rules they follow are otherwise too amoral. More extreme cases might fall under Blue and Orange Morality, and they might run the risk of being bigots towards other cultures and codes of law. Essentially, this is those who do not justify the Law with arguments about their not being anything better, but those that argue that these Laws are the better, and will likely resist even legal attempts to change them.
- A Type 3 follows a personal code, including those that have been organized by another- for example, a warrior code or a religious creed-, or one they have constructed for themselves. They will obey this code rigidly and to the letter, and it will usually superscede (but make allowances for) any of the other types, but it (or their devotion to it) is too rigid for them to be considered Chaotic even if it puts them at odds with the established system of law and order, while they lack the moral or immoral conviction to be considered Good or Evil. At their best, they will obey the spirit as well as the letter of their codes, or at least try to or recognize that they must, but at their worst they can become a Principles Zealot or a Tautological Templar who puts their own code- and their own interpretation of said code- above all else.
- A Type 4 arises in a vacuum- they find themselves in a situation where neither Authority nor the Rules apply, such as an After the End scenario where law and order have broken down, and seek to establish order (or follow another who does). Typically they will appeal to a preestablished system as the basis- murder is wrong because it used to be wrong, or because civilised societies are expected to have outlawed such acts. It can also occur where there is a sense of order, just not one that the character recognizes as valid, such as a Wretched Hive where the "order" comes from corruption and Might Makes Right, or more dubiously a working society they deem to be chaotic or inferior. In these cases, they will probably appeal to their own rules or the rules of their own society or culture. At their best, they will bring a sense of structure and justice to a volatile situation, but at their worst this type can slide into bigotry and tyranny, worsened by the fact that they are basically making the rules from scratch.
Lawful Neutral characters do not always follow the law. It may involve their own personal code which they adhere to strictly. In other cases they are extreme supporters of maintaining or restoring order regardless of how lawful it is. This is especially appropriate in settings where society has broken down - just because things are bad, doesn't mean they have to get worse. They have certain ideals that a Lawful Good character would agree with, such as not killing unless threatened, and upholding their word, but tend to look out for themselves.
A Lawful Neutral alignment is easy to play because it involves adherence to defined codes first and foremost - all personal moral issues come second. On the other hand, it can become rather restrictive and predictable. Those adhering to personal codes rather than the law may find it tough to uphold, as the only one to make sure they keep to their code, is them. Furthermore inexperienced roleplayers who play as Lawful Neutral 'cop' types may find themselves slipping into Lawful Stupid territory.
The key here is the desire to preserve order, at any personal cost. The character will be unquestioningly devoted to the written code, either because they don't have the intelligence to imply critical thinking to it, or because while they are intelligent and capable of independent thought when needs be, preservation of the society is the ultimate goal, and it is believed that the Law and the society itself are inescapably the same thing. If the Law is compromised, the society will go with it. Altruism and egoism are generally regarded as irrelevant, with each being considered as potentially dangerous as the other.
In theory many loyal servants of the Empire, and Lawful Evil BigBads in general should tend towards this alignment because they believe in authority and law over considerations of good or evil. However, in practice, this is the type of Lawful Neutral character that is by far the most likely to end up doing evil deeds by following orders, slipping into the Lawful Evil alignment.
If you have a difficulty deciding which alignment a neutral-aligned character belongs to, the main difference between Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, and Chaotic Neutral is not their lack of devotion to either good or evil, but the methods they believe are best to show it:
- Lawful Neutral characters believe the best way is to have a specific, strict code of conduct, whether self-imposed or codified as a law. Their first impulse when making a moral decision is to refer back to this code; those with externally imposed systems (codes of laws, hierarchies, etc.) will try to work within the system when those systems go wrong. They will refuse to break this code even if good could be done by breaking it.
- True Neutral characters are indifferent to Order Versus Chaos, and their only interest is in living their own lives. They simply live their lives, whether that means tearing down a code of laws, following a code of laws, creating an orderly society, causing the breakdown of some kinds of order, or staying away from society altogether. They have no particular objective.
- Most Chaotic Neutral characters don't constantly break the law, but they cannot see much value in laws. They believe that their own consciences are their best guides, and that tying themselves to any given code of conduct would be limiting their own ability to do what they want. They do not get along with anyone who tries to instill any kind of order over the Chaotic Neutral character, believing these people to be restricting their freedom. Chaotic Neutral characters often focus very strongly on their individual rights and freedoms, and will strongly resist any form of oppression of themselves.
Lawful Neutral characters include:
- Anthropomorphic Personifications of Order.
- Battle Butlers working for Royalty.
- By-The-Book Cop (when not Lawful Good)
- Extreme Doormat
- The Grammar Nazi, unless they're trying to be hurtful or genuinely helpful.
- Hanging Judge (when not Lawful Evil)
- Inspector Javert
- The Judge
- The more by-the-book Samurai
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner (when not Lawful Evil)
- Darker examples of the Knight in Shining Armor
- Less fanatical examples of the Knight Templar
- Those who believe in My Country, Right or Wrong or My Master, Right or Wrong
- Nearly all bureaucrats, whether Obstructive or Beleaguered
- And, by extension, most depictions of a modern state. Individual politicians can have any alignment but a non-evil Government, in any modern setting, tends to be Lawful Neutral as a whole.
- Many characters Loyal to the Position (when they're not The Quisling) are this.
- Principles Zealot (when not Lawful Evil)
- Positive portrayals of Punch Clock Villain when not True Neutral
- The true Nietzschean Ubermensch, having a strict, self-imposed code, is closest to this (although Lawful Blue is a touch more accurate).
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
- Almost every portrayal of The Grim Reaper.
No real life examples, please; this is a trope about how characters are depicted in media. Real people are far more complex than fictional characters, and cannot be pigeonholed this way. (For that matter, many if not most fictional characters cannot be pigeonholed this way, either; see below for the standards on whether to use this trope at all.
When dealing with the examples of specific characters, remember that assigning an alignment to a character who doesn't come with one is subjective (and, at All The Tropes, discouraged). If you have a problem with a character being listed here, it probably belongs on the discussion page. There will be no Real Life examples under any circumstances; it just invites an Edit War.
On works pages: Character Alignment is only to be used in works where it is canonical, and only for characters who have alignments in-story. There is to be no arguing over canonical alignments, and no Real Life examples, ever.
Anime and Manga
- Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach, though he shifts a little towards Lawful Good later on.
- Genryusai Yamamoto almost personifies this alignment: "No personal justice takes precedence over the world's justice".
- Soifon has some tendencies toward this alignment, but has an almost Lawful Evil stance when dealing with lawbreakers, and despite knowing what Yoruichi did, is primarily upset over her not taking her with her when she left Soul Society.
- Sajin Komamura is primarily motivated by sheer loyalty to Yamamoto, and is willing to do anything he asks, even lay down his life for him.
- L from Death Note. His pursuit of Kira is more about "winning" than stopping him because it's the right thing to do. At the same time he also goes to extreme lengths to secure solid evidence that Light is Kira, despite everything that his intuition is (correctly) telling him.
- Of course, given L's willingness to break the law to achieve his goal, he could just as easily be True Neutral.
- NPA Director Kitamura has the police stop investigating the Yotsuba Kira on orders from the government after the Yotsuba Kira starts influencing politicians. He disagrees with the order but follows it, noting that "if the government is destroyed, so is the country," being less concerned about letting a mass murderer go free.
- Yagami Light himself might be this at best before he receives his Death Note, given that he hates all criminals in the world who may or may not be villains in nature.
- Uniquely among the Shinigami, Rem probably falls under this alignment. She doesn't care about good or evil as such, and her only loyalty is to Misa, who is one of the villains. She also expresses personal disgust for most of the humans fighting over the Death Note and despises their petty and callous murders for the sake of power.
- Ritsuko Akagi from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Rei Ayanami, a quiet, emotionless pilot. She later subverts this by revealing herself to be more Neutral Good, when she rebels against Gendo's plan at the end.
- Gendo Ikari as well. This is particularly up to debate, because he's really morally ambiguous, and half the fanbase sees him as a general asshole, while the other half sees him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, especially when contrasted with SEELE
- The Lancer Yu Kanda from D.Gray-man.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist Mistuo Yamaki of Digimon Tamers. He later shifts to a Neutral Good persona.
- From the same series, Zuqhuiaomon.
- Natarle Badgiruel of Gundam Seed, probably the most by-the-book person in the series.
- Johan Trinity of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, as his concern seems to be more about 'bring about the change to the world' and cares little to everything else. He does have to keep check on his Chaotic Neutral siblings Michael and Nena.
- Tieria Erde, also from 00, is this at first. He obeys everything Veda told him and is willing to kill his fellow Meisters if they break the rules or become a liability to the group (e.g. Setsuna and Allelujah). But after Veda ditches him, and his interactions with Lockon, he became Neutral Good in season 2.
- Flit Asuno, in his 2nd-Generation portrait, working to save the Earthlings by planning the genocide of all the people of Vagan.
- Zeheart Galette, working for Vagan.
- The Stoic Kurama of Elfen Lied
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, it seems that the higher you climb the Space/Time Administration Bureau's ladder, the more you shift from Lawful Good to Lawful Neutral. For example, the Bureau founders have become so obsessed with keeping the peace, that the Combat Mages under them are little more than convenient tools to be used and discarded as necessary for this goal.
- General Regius goes from being Lawful Good and wanting to change the system to being Lawful Neutral and helping back several of the more ethically dubious actions of the TSAB, like the Combat Cyborg program. He despises Section 6 for being run by the "criminal" Hayate Yagami in addition to his preference for the ground forces, and tries to get it shut down.
- The Wolkenritter start out as this, presumably obeying their masters' orders in order to increase their power. In contrast to Signum, Shamal and Vita, Zafira retains this alignment after coming into Hayate's service, stating that as a guardian beast, he does what is best for his master regardless of whether it is right or wrong.
- Nina Wang of Mai-Otome, as a perfect foil for Arika. Disciplined, never questions orders - even though she might not like them - and respectful of Garderobe's rules. While she's definitely not a bad person, she is utterly unable to take a decision that is unbiased by her love for her adoptive father Sergei, and because of this she is easily manipulated by Nagi into doing his bidding when he mortally injures Sergei.
- Maria Graceburt has some Lawful Neutral tendencies, as she believes that Otome must obey their masters even if doing so results in them fighting against their friends, but later on, questions some of those beliefs as a result of what Arika said on that matter.
- Bartholomew Kuma of One Piece is definitely of the Lawful Neutral variety. He is the most obedient member of the Seven Warlords of the Sea (Considering the rest of group members, that's admittedly not saying much) to The World Government and is usually bad news for the Straw Hat Pirates, but isn't a Knight Templar and is observant about the way the world is starting to play out. When ordered to obliterate the Straw Hats, he opted to spare them, with the exception of one, and later when they were about to be defeated by Kizaru and Sentoumaru, he teleported them to different locations, not only saving their lives, but apparently giving Luffy an opportunity to save his brother Ace, and stop the impending war between the World Government and the Whitebeard Pirates.
- Admiral Kizaru is a pretty nice guy as long as you're not a criminal - but if you've broken a law (any law, from murdering hundreds to spitting on a nobleman), he will kill you.
- Rossiu from Gurren Lagann who believes in the preservation of order and the human race above all else. This causes him to sentence Simon to death to stop a riot. His beliefs also cause him to be forced to save himself and the thousands he evacuated on time, but leave everyone else to die.
- Ogami Itto from Lone Wolf and Cub. Not a nice guy (he was perfectly willing to kill his 1-year-old son if the baby hadn't "chosen" to come along on his mission of revenge), but not really evil either, just devoted to an ultra-inflexible code of honor. Daigoro is probably still Lawful Good but sinking fast toward Lawful Neutral.
- While he'll kill anyone if the client can meet his demands, Ittou also usually helps anyone who needs it if he can do it without compromising the rules he lives by. Especially other people who put their principles ahead of their lives.
- Saitou Hajime in Rurouni Kenshin. Once a Bakufu loyalist in The Shinsengumi, after the Meiji victory in the Meiji Revolution, he goes to work for the Meiji government as an agent and policeman so long as he can dispense his strict code of justice: Slay Evil Immediately. His alignment is best illustrated by one portion of the manga where Senkaku, an Elite Mook, is unconscious and a kid whose entire family was killed by Senkaku is going to kill him. Saitou coldly informs the kid that revenge killings are illegal, so if the kid does it Saitou will arrest him too. Saitou then "reassures" the kid by telling him that Senkaku will probably be executed and tortured for information first, which would be much worse for him than dying painlessly. Major case of Good Is Not Nice, and that's without mentioning his Jerkass tendencies towards supporting characters.
- Detective Lunge of Monster. He has almost no concern either way for the well being of others, willingly and remorselessly driving away even his own family if it brings him a step closer to catching a criminal.
- Kakashi in Naruto's Kakashi Gaiden series believes that orders and rules are absolute, partly as a result of his father suffering greatly for abandoning a mission to save his friends, but develops toward being Neutral Good.
- Homura and Koharu appear to follow this alignment, wanting to confine Naruto to the village to keep the nine-tailed fox out of the Akatsuki's hands, despite Tsunade's argument it would not necessarily deter the Akatsuki from invading, as they seem to want what's best for the village as a whole, but don't necessarily care for the welfare of individuals going so far as to orchestrate the massacre of the Uchiha clan.
- Most Siberian Railroad agents in Overman King Gainer - and, in fact, most opponents the Chaotic Good Yapan Exodus face - are this alignment, being Punch Clock Villains who are in it for the pay. The few exceptions are Neutral Evil Asuham Boone, who will go to extremes to pursue his Disproportionate Retribution against Gain; Lawful Evil Smug Snake Kashmir Valle; and Chaotic Neutral Enfante Terrible Cynthia Lane.
- Death the Kid from Soul Eater could likely be counted as Lawful Neutral. His belief that good and evil should be kept in balance, keeping with his desire for symmetry, seems more of a True Neutral idea, but the fact that he wants good and evil to be so strictly kept in equal moderation leans him toward the lawful alignment. That?s not to mention all other aspects of his obsession with symmetry, which, much like any lawful-abiding character, often seeks to order and organize things to the annoyance or detriment of others. However, he does occasionally have Lawful Good tendencies, especially where his friends or innocent lives are concerned, but, more often, his obnoxious, usually debilitating need for symmetry swings him toward the Lawful Stupid side of things.
- King Yama appears to be like this in Yu Yu Hakusho, given his desire for order above all else, but in the manga, it's revealed that he had demons captured and brainwashed to attack humans to justify keeping up the barrier and make the Spirit World seem good, making him Lawful Evil. Ohtake of the Special Defense Forces has a similar alignment, but shifts to Neutral Evil near the end of the manga, when he becomes part of a group of terrorists that takes over the Gates of Judgment and threatens to destroy part of the human world unless the demons are returned to the demon plane.
- Some see Suzaku Kururugi of Code Geass as this. Suzaku only cares about order, and think that's the only way to peace.
- Cornelia, as of season 2.
- Her knight, Guilford, is a far better example of Lawful Neutral, since he's following his loyalty to her.
- Jeremiah Gottwald also qualifies, following his Heel Face Turn to Lelouch's side once he learns he's Zero.
- Cornelia, as of season 2.
- General Olivier Mira Armstrong of Fullmetal Alchemist.
- The angel in A Certain Magical Index. It's pretty clearly not pleased with the situation going on and would really prefer not to destroy the world to get home. It does try for the quicker, less violent method first but it isn't an option as it would involve Touma's father. But hey, if that's what's necessary.
- Hellsing: Father Alexander Anderson considers himself an instrument of God and violently slaughters enemies of the church. However, he sternly believes that violence is only to be used against monsters and heretics.
- His fellow Iscariot members, Hienkel Wolfe and Yumie Takagi also fit Lawful Neutral
- Major Matoko Kusanagi and Section 9 in general from the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Their jobs as police officers is to uphold the law for the betterment of society. This means busting criminals by normal means, but also going to lengths such as torturing criminals, hacking the information right out of their brain, using viruses or political influence to prevent the media from obtaining information on an event happening, causing "accidents" to corrupt politicians, district attorneys, and corporate executives, or even uprooting the government's own ruling administration. Nobody is exempt, but they fight to maintain peace for the betterment of Japan. They aren't breaking the law themselves though, due to loopholes that allow them to exist outside of public knowledge.
- The Magic Council from Fairy Tail can be somewhat jarring when compared to the titular guild, who regularly employ Defeat Means Friendship. For those who don't hate him, seeing Jellal arrested was justified but not pleasant. And of course, they're willing to fire Frickin' Laser Beams at their own people or at mages of Fairy Tail if it means killing a greater evil.
- Austria and Germany from Hetalia. Both object strongly to their bosses's orders at some point, but no matter what they think of them, they follow said instructions in the end. They also offer nice contrasts to the characters around them: Neutral Good North Italy, Chaotic Good Hungary, and Chaotic Neutral Prussia.
- The Punisher, if he's not Chaotic Neutral (or Lawful Evil).
- Ultimate Ronan the Accuser. He's dedicated at performing his duty of punishing the enemies of The Empire, and is loyal to his Lawful Evil father, Ultimate Thanos, but has a conscience and feels guilt when he has to kill innocents.
- The Guardians of the Universe in the Green Lantern comics.
- Eric Finch from V for Vendetta. While he openly disapproves of the ruling Norsefire party, he serves them because he thinks they are the only alternative to anarchy and chaos.
- Harvey Dent. Two-Face on the other hand...
- Judge Dredd. He is the Law, though in the last couple of years he's started shifting towards Lawful Good.
- Nick Fury heads up the supreme law enforcement agency in the Marvel Universe, SHIELD. While usually an honest man, and a more sympathetic ear than anyone else on Uncle Sam's payroll, his acting in his agency's best interest makes him as much a sparring partner of regular heroes as the Incredible Hulk is. Of course, this is compared with Marvel's very iconoclastic collection of heroes—by government standards he's a bit of a Cowboy Cop who occasionally goes renegade. (To be honest, you'll find just about anyone with a lawful alignment goes renegade sooner or later.)
- The Sandman; Destiny and Dream are Lawful Neutral.
- Iron Man may come as close as allowed for a non-deconstructionist superhero. When a leader, he's hardass and impersonal. He's been known to outright dismiss magic, or have a distaste for it when it shows up. And his superheroic antics often feel like they're more upholding a status quo than improving lives. Hell, after Civil War some might peg him as downright Lawful Stupid, but we can meet him halfway on this—it certainly showed that for him goodness came second to law and order.
- The Spectre, especially in recent years, has tended toward this alignment. Note that his civilian identities have all been policemen. His concern is with punishing evil and keeping the world of magic honest. For the Spirit of Vengeance to actually go out of his way to help people he often has to be persuaded by his human side and/or other heroes.
- Hobbes in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series merely goes along with Calvin, though he's very willing to bail at the slightest sign of danger.
- While The Government itself is more Evil, individual Grammaton Clerics in Equilibrium are most likely Lawful Neutral.
- In Taken, when former CIA agent Bryan Mills attempts to enlist the help of French agent-turned-bureaucrat Jean-Claude Pitrel in the kidnapping of the former's daughter, Jean-Claude turns out to be less-than-enthusiastic to help when his bosses in the French government decide Bryan's making too much of a mess in Paris. When Bryan later confronts Jean-Claude with the latter's possible involvement in the kidnapping, Jean-Claude coldly replies, "My salary is 'x'; my expenses are 'y'. So long as my family is provided for, I do not care where the difference comes from. That is my entire involvement."
- Most Jedi in the Star Wars prequels, particularly those on the Council.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe generally describes Stormtroopers, TIE pilots and so forth as just doing their jobs.
- Boba Fett in the Expanded Universe. He has a personal code of honor and justice and he only accepts jobs that follow it. The reason he sides with the Empire so often is because he views them as enforcers of peace and order, with the Rebel Alliance trying to disrupt that order.
- Lando Calrissian tried to be this in The Empire Strikes Back, but Darth Vader pushed him too far in the direction of Lawful Evil that he was compelled to switch to Chaotic Good.
- Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard of The Fugitive is an example of the Lawful Neutral police officer. He's simply trying to catch the escaped prisoner, as demonstrated by this quote:
Kimble: I didn't kill my wife!
Gerard: I don't care!
- One of the soon to be female bank robbers ('Frankie') from the film Set It Off sees Detective Waller as this. Mostly because Waller is a fellow black woman whom seems very unsympathetic to her plight of being fired from her job as a bank teller because she got scared and didn't follow proper procedure during a bank robbery,. Frankie felt she was being scapegoated because she had a passing association with the robber. Upon her firing, and being grilled by Detective Strode on how to follow procedure she looks at Waller and sarcastically says Thanks for your help sista.
- Captain Teague in Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Norrington as well. The only time he allows a little Chaotic decision (giving Sparrow a day's head start), he pays for it. Big time.
- The Captain in Das Boot.
- Wikus from District 9. He's still quoting MNU regulations until the midpoint of the film, and he's pretty much looking out for himself until literally the last five minutes of the movie, when he veers towards Chaotic Good.
- Scott, "worker-bee" to the United State's government in Spartan.
- RoboCop, prior to regaining his humanity.
- Predator, who lives by a strict honor code.
- Gerd Wiesler from The Lives of Others starts out as this, teaching his students matter of factly about interrogation techniques in East Germany and disregarding one student's protest that sleep deprivation is "inhuman" (even marking him in a way that implies his career will not be moving forward). Ironically, it is his Lawful Neutral nature that eventually pushes him into becoming Lawful Good, as it becomes obvious that his superior, Lt. Colonel Grubitz, is not so interested in following the law as pleasing his own superiors - hence the (at first) unjustified investigation into playwright Dreymann's life, in order to free up his girlfriend for the lecherous Minister Hempf. By the time Dreymann really is up to something (albeit something rather harmless) Wiesler is so disgusted by his superiors and so sympathetic to the playwright that he deliberately disobeys orders and protects Dreymann, at the cost of his own career.
- T-800 is this in the first Terminator film, as a cyborg programmed to solely complete the mission given by his Skynet superior. He is this in the second film, too, still as a cyborg programmed by the human resistance to protect a human boy targeted by the Skynet, at least until the Conners reset his processor chip to write new instructions based on his experience, making him Lawful Good.
- Mr. Strickland in the first two Back to The Future movies is as tough towards Marty McFly and his father George as he is towards Biff Tannen.
Strickland!1985A: EAT LEAD, SLACKERS!
- Peter Pan in Hook. Yes, you read that right. The premise of the movie is that he left Neverland, got married, had children, forgot who he used to be and became a boring lawyer. When he's forced to return to Neverland, his completely opposite attitude from everyone there and the whole place itself makes his stay extremely awkward, until, of course, he regains his memories and former personality, depicted as very much Chaotic Good.
- Death in many myths is this. If you're on the list, you go with him. If you aren't, you don't. There is in fact a Swedish Tale where a man lets The Grim Reaper be his sons godfather after he refuted a demon and a Angel the honor because he "comes to all, low and high with the same resolve and with the same kindness". He doesn't kill you; he just ends your life.
- He also popularly accepts the outcome of a fair game as a bargain.
- Les Misérables have the original Inspector Javert. Go to the quotes and read the introductory paragraph describing his world view and ask yourself if it couldn't replace the Lawful Neutral article without much being lost.
- Of course Javert is Lawful Neutral. But after Valjean rescues him and saves his life, Javert's entire view of the world is crumbling, he feels he should not pursue a man who saved his life. This reasoning that others find normal, for a Lawful Neutral man is an entirely alien, strange, misbegotten idea. He thinks he must pursue Jean Valjean. He feels he can’t. He discovers "that he has in his chest something, absurd and rebel, similar to a hearth" . Javerts realizes that he cannot possibly arrest Valjean again. This poses the interesting question if Javert's true nature was Chaotic Good (capable of break the rules because he is a nice person), and he only acted Lawful Neutral because nobody before Valjean treated him with true kindness and he accepted his somber mindset only because his environment never showed him something better, and if that society treats better his own members, the members will treat better his society.
- Havelock Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork and Discworld's resident Magnificent Bastard. Plays all sides against the middle... arguably more Lawful Neutral than True Neutral though, because it's not so much about canceling out opposing forces as just keeping order in his city. He's also been known to indulge in personal "abuses" of his power and considers himself a tyrant, for example hanging mimes over scorpion pits across from large signs marked "LEARN THE WORDS", although apparently this is considered one of his good points by most citizens.
- The Discworld's Death is, unusually for most such personifications of Death, most likely Lawful Neutral—he refers to his purpose as The Duty and has rarely shown malice towards anyone except when he's had "a good run at" getting angry. (Elsewhere on this Wiki, he has gotten described as True Neutral.)
- On the other side of the same coin are Death's occasional opponents, The Auditors of Reality, those non-corporeal entities that ensure that gravity works and that the laws of physics run correctly, who have made several attempts to extinguish the chaotic and lawless horrors that are "life" and "personality."
- In The Dresden Files; The White Council of Wizards, and the Wardens in particular tend to fall into this. Morgan is the most extreme example, although he got a little better after Dead Beat; at least he seems to think about the laws he enforces before he enforces them now.
- In one of the books, Anastasia Luccio (Commander of the Wardens) explains to Harry that the Council only enforces its own Seven Laws, not national laws or moral codes—because doing otherwise would almost certainly lead to internal war between wizards. (This means, among other things, that the Council didn't take sides in World War II.) Harry himself has mused that there is nothing in the Council's laws preventing him from using magic to rob a bank.
- Warden, a heron in Redwall's Martin the Warrior has the catchphrase "I am the Law!" and eats the inhabitants of his swamp whenever they displease him.
- Stannis Baratheon in A Song of Ice and Fire. A dour and rigid man, he believes in honor and duty above all else, causing him to have few friends. After a notorious smuggler brought his castle food relief during a siege, he ordered that the man was being made a Lord for his heroism and having his knuckles chopped off as punishment for his crimes, since one had nothing to do with the other. The man kept his knuckles in a bag around his neck as a reminder for the rest of his life.
- He is also fully committed to the War Of Succession despite the fact that not only is he aware that he'd make a terrible king, he doesn't even want the throne: but since the throne is in fact rightly his, he will fight to make it so.
- Gunner First Class Ferik Jurgen, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!, he is extremely loyal and duty-bound to the imperium, and doesn't care about much outside of just that. He's not dumb, he is just puts his duty above all else. Even if said duty involves "Fetching Cain a salamander and driving him away from there as fast as possible". He also happens to be a prime example of the fact that Lawful Neutral does not mean Lawful Tidy.
- Also, Tomas Beije, for a case of Lawful Neutral in a bad way.
- One philosophy of LN is spelled out by Jacen "Darth Caedus" Solo in the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Sacrifice. Essentially, it boiled down to "Palpatine was the good guy throughout the Rebellion, because he came to power through democratic means. The fact that he turned out to be a mass-murdering psychopath hell-bent on the enslavement of all non-human species and crushing the galaxy in a durasteel fist for the rest of eternity doesn't really come into it, because legally he was supposed to be in charge."
- Charles Dickens seems to have hated this alignment, and commonly assigns it to villains with high social status. They think they're Lawful Good, though, and anyone who happens to interfere with them is rationalized to be Neutral Evil so they won't feel guilty about interfering right back.
- With the exception of the con men who claim to be royals, all the morally grey characters in Huckleberry Finn fit this alignment. As with Dickens, they think they're Lawful Good and call the Chaotic Good Huckleberry Neutral Evil.
- Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter series, depending on your interpretation. Fudge does associate himself with Lawful Evil characters like Dolores Umbridge and Lucius Malfoy, but he may just be an idiot.
- Of course to paraphrase one of the D&D discriptions of neutral: a neutral person may prefer to have a good person as friend/neighbor but they won't mind if their friend/neighbor happens to be evil either.
- Don't forget Argus Filch and his cat Mrs. Norris. They hate it when anyone break the rules in Hogwarts.
- And, for much of the series, Percy Weasley is also Lawful Neutral.
- Barty Crouch, Sr. was this, too. He was not so much opposed to Death Eaters as afraid of associating with them, and therefore ruining his reputation, so she made a big show of abandoning his son after his allegiance to Voldemort was found out. Later, he hatched a successful plan to get Barty Jr. out of Azkaban using his wife and Polyjuice Potion.
- A lot of people initially saw Umbridge this way; even the blood-quill could be excused as My Master, Right or Wrong or a bizarrely intense drive to strike down rulebreakers. Of course, when it came out that she was the one who set the Dementor on Harry and Dudley it became clear that she wasn't just doing sick and twisted things when the Ministry told her to, but may actually just be a sick and twisted person in general. By Deathly Hallows, there was no denying her true alignment.
- Severian, the protagonist of Book of the New Sun is an excellent example of Lawful Neutral as a philosophical outlook. Raised by the Torturer's Guild, the ideology he learned from them, and espouses himself, is that guilt or innocence of the accused isn't of great importance; the only important factor is to carry out the appropriate sentence, neither lessening nor exceeding the cruelty demanded. Notably, when he complains about the problems with his Guild and society in general, it is to the effect that it is inefficient, rather than that people are being punished in a way that far exceeds their level of wrong-doing.
- Galad Damodred in The Wheel of Time. He plays everything strictly by the rules, even if it means getting someone else hurt or in trouble. According to his half-sister, he instantly reported any misbehavior she committed without fail, without any degree of spite. Unsurprisingly, Galad eventually joins the Whitecloaks. His half-brother, Gawyn Trakand, also shows signs of this alignment.
- To judge by Galad's behavior in the prologue chapter of Knife of Dreams, he's been Lawful Good the whole time -- and so were the Whitecloaks, once upon a time. He's helping them relearn that.
- Elaida is a particularly unpleasant interpretation of this alignment, at least for a while. Eventually it's hard to argue she wanders into Lawful Evil territory, but exactly when is debatable.
- Murtagh Morzansson of the Inheritance Cycle. Originally, he refused to side with either King Galbatorix or the Varden, but rather straddled the line between the two as a neutral party. He refrained from supporting Galbatorix openly because he believed that the king was too harsh in his policies, and he refused to join the Varden because he believed that their chaotic policies and plan to destroy the Empire would cause pointless anarchy. Eventually, he bonds with Thorn, one of the dragons under Galbatorix's control, and thereafter becomes the Empire's champion, and swears binding oaths of loyalty in the Ancient Language. It is repeatedly shown that what tempts Murtagh the most is the idea of uniting the world under a peaceful, united Empire.
- Ed (shortened from Ed'rashtekaresket) the Master Shark in the second of the Young Wizards book is, as his title implies, a giant shark who is essentially their lord and master. He likes his job, which is killing and eating things that are in distress, too slow or not smart enough to escape him. However, he sees this as his assigned job and is not nearly as cold as he seems. He even performs a heroic sacrifice.
- The Inquisition in Night Watch is explicitly this trope; in the second book, Witieszlav tells Anton that while he personally is sympathetic to the Dark and thinks the Light is deluded, this makes no difference to how he goes about his duty as he knows the true danger of what would happen if The Treaty were to collapse.
- In The Caves of Steel, Lije Baley questions how R. (for "robot") Daneel Olivaw could possibly understand the concept of "justice". R. Daneel explains that he defines "justice" as "that which exists when all the laws are enforced". He shows a more flexible view at the end of the novel.
- In The Silmarillion, Mandos, the Vala of destiny and death, is presented in this manner (and probably the only Vala apart from Morgoth to not be some form of good). Mandos is characterized as being merciless, but also without malice- he's an old style death-god who exists solely to perform his duty of housing souls (if they're elves) or passing them on (if they're men) and to dispense prophecy as required. He was moved to mercy once in his entire existence, and that was the Crowning Moment of Awesome (among many awesome moments) for the character who moved him.
- In Ivanhoe Bois-guilbert tells Rebecca that the Templar guards will be equally willing to protect her from being raped and escort her to her execution because in either case they are there to carry out the law.
Live Action TV
- Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister was mostly concerned with not making changes unless absolutely necessary and reducing the damage by frivolous politicians, and was utterly unconcerned by things that fell outside his remit. When Hacker keeps trying to raise the moral issues around the sale of weapons which ended up in the hands of Italian red terrorists he only cares if it intersects his office, saying the problem lies with other departments, not theirs, and that his function is not to speculate on the morality of matters currently lawful.
Hacker: Selling arms to terrorists is wrong, can't you see that?
Humphrey: No, minister. Either you sell arms or you don't. If you sell them, they will inevitably end up in the hands of people who have the cash to buy them.
Humphrey(a little later): Government isn't about morality...[it's about] stability. Keeping things going, preventing anarchy. Still being here tomorrow...Government isn't about good and evil, it's only about order or chaos.
Hacker: And it's in order for Italian terrorists to get British bombs?...And you don't care?
Humphrey:It's not my job to care! That's what politicians are for. It's my job to carry out government policy.
Hacker: Even if you think it's wrong?
Humphrey: * grinning* Well, practically all government policy is wrong. But frightfully well carried out.
- The changelings of Deep Space Nine are fantically obsessed with order and often bordering heavily on Lawful Evil. Odo is unusual for his species in that he has been around "solid" species for almost his entire life and understands their needs and struggles and is more understanding about their faults. When dealing with other people, he replaces his sense for order with justice, making him bordering on Lawful Good. When no harm is done or laws were broken out of desperation, he can be somewhat lenient and let people of easy, but when it comes to real criminals he is utterly and completely without mercy and does not show any preferential treatment to anyone. This makes him the perfect head of law enforcement on a space station that would most probably be a Wrtched Hive without him. He had the same job when the station was a slave labor camp, as the prisoners knew he would not abuse suspects or threaten innocents and were more willing to talk, while the overseers had complete trust that he would never allow any commited crime go unpunished. He also gets massively annoyed when someone gets into his office or quarters and touches or moves anything even just a little bit.
- On one episode showing the occupation Odo lets Kira go when he catches her in a sabatoge op. War wasn't his business, crime was.
- The ascended Ancients from Stargate SG-1 are Lawful Neutral to the extreme. They believe in keeping their orders of non-interference so much that they will watch any Big Bad enslave and kill millions of people simply for keeping the freedom of will for every life. Any ascended being that stops evil and thereby interferes will be punished really hard. This transitions into Lawful Stupid territory when they refuse to intervene in Seasons 9 and 10, where the Big Bad in question is their collective Evil Twin whom they know will destroy the Ancients themselves once they've gotten the worship and thus the power of the rest of the intelligent life in the galaxy.
- Teal'c is an interesting case, as he is only Lawful Neutral in the Backstory. In his concern for duty above all else he had committed atrocities as the First Prime of Apophis. By the start of the series, he seems to have had a change of heart to a more Lawful Good stance, taking the opportunity to free and join up with SG-1 to act on his alignment change.
- Jack Bristow, Sydney's father on Alias, is a fascinating treatment of the alignment, because he follows two overriding concerns without question. The first, and the most important, is to keep his daughter safe; as she's an active spy and field agent, this is even less easy than it is for normal fathers. The second, due his being a spy himself, is to safeguard the economic, diplomatic, and military security of the United States (for whom his daughter works, as well). They usually go together. The fun comes when said goals clash.
- Det Pembleton in Homicide: Life on the Street can be regarded as a successful portrayal of a complex and realistic Lawful Neutral character.
- The Alliance of Firefly comes off as this, mixed in with some Lawful Stupid. Goes double in The Movie.
- Interestingly, Zoe also tends toward this alignment. She just never stopped being a Browncoat.
- Bill Compton and Eric Northman from True Blood.
- Chloe from Smallville seems to fall into this character alignment.
- The Vorlons of Babylon 5 are Lawful Neutral on average, encouraging younger races to establish orderly societies without particular regard to their morality; however, some (like Kosh) lean towards the Good end of the spectrum, while others (such as Ulkesh) are rather Eviler.
- Many of the Division officials in 24 come across as this, as they often show more concern for stopping Jack from violating regulations than they do for catching the terrorists, even when doing the former interferes with the latter.
- Abbie Carmichael from Law and Order could be a dark cynical take on this.
- The Judoon in Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Especially in The Sarah Jane Adventures story Prisoner of the Judoon, where a Running Gag is that while they don't worry very much about executing humans for getting the way in the pursuit of their duty, they won't run a red light, park illegally, or open a door marked "Authorised Personnel Only". On the opposing side, when shit is about to get real for all of reality in the Doctor Who episode "The Pandorica Opens", they're all too willing to work alongside a Legion of Doom (which is obviously evil) consisting of Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans (among others) in a failing attempt to prevent a crack-induced universal collapse courtesy of an exploding TARDIS.
- Doctor Who's Time Lords.
- Bree from Desperate Housewives.
- Even if Dr Cox insists that he is Lawful Evil, Dr Kelso in Scrubs , when given some Character Development, appears as someone who just tries to keep the hospital working, even if this implies enforcing unpopular policies.
- Admiral Helena Cain from Battlestar Galactica is a ruthless General Ripper who will do anything necessary to protect her fleet and accomplish her missions, morals be damned. In fact, it is her very philosophy to make such decisions without flinching. Despite that, Adama himself says that he cannot find any faults in her tactical decisions.
- Though this may be more a comment on the desperateness of the situation, executing innocent civilians and raping prisoners can hardly be considered "lawful".
- The various characters of Parks and Recreation, mostly being bureaucrats, are different kinds of Lawful Neutral. Leslie frequently veers into Lawful Good territory, but thus far has proven unwilling to bend the rules to do what's right (until the Season 2 finale...which ended up aboveboard anyway...), and in any case, she sees "serving the public" as part of the job description (which, in truth, is a lot more likely at the local level). On the other hand, you have Ron Swanson, the Libertarian head of the department, who wants to cut government to the bone and borders on True Neutral.
- Gil Grissom of CSI.
- Vice Principal Krubbs from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.
- Dean Rivers from Zoey 101.
Myth and Religion
- Most portrayals of The Grim Reaper. He's death, but it's his JOB to collect the souls of people who have died. He does not go out of his way to kill those whose time of death has not yet come, and he shows neither pity nor joy in collecting the souls of those who have died by whatever means, doing his part in preserving the natural order of things.
- Many authority figures onscreen will fall into this if they aren't full-blown heels. Being good at their job means impartiality on their part so they can't exactly play favorite for the face or the heel. thus, if either side has a legit case, they have to rule in that person's favor regardless of that person's own alignment. Examples include Teddy Long, Mick Foley as Commissioner, and the currently anonymous GM of Raw.
- At their most benevolent, the Imperium of Man and Tau Empire of Warhammer 40,000 clock in as extremely heavy-handed Lawful Neutral-obey their mandates without question or be annihilated... or worse...
- Likewise in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, The Empire, and the Lizardmen.
- Especially the nicest Tech-Priests, who essentially devote themselves to pure logic. (The less nice ones tend towards being Lawful Evil techno-kleptomaniacs.)
- Point may also go to the Craftworld Eldar too, although to a lesser extent than other races. The majority of them are living extremely disciplined lives due to their extreme emotional range, mostly extremely hedonistic lifestyles caused their downfall and squicked the chaos god Slaanesh into existence. Not quite as lawful as most other "good" races in the setting, since many become pirates and mercenaries due to the extremely restrained lives they are forced to live on their craftworlds, yet most of these are still loyal to their craftworlds. In general, however, the Craftworld Eldar's politics can be considered Lawful Neutral, because at least they don't execute their own men regularly, and generally have an ordered lifestyle simply to prevent Slaanesh from eating their souls.
- The modrons from Dungeons & Dragons (and featured most heavily in Planescape) are the physical embodiments of Lawful Neutral in the game's universe. They had a regrettable tendency to be portrayed as quirky wind-up toys with an anal-retentive obsession with orderliness, but at their best the modrons—especially the more powerful ones—could be frightening alien forces that represent the concept of law in the same way that angels represent good and demons evil.
- The plane of Mechanus (and the home of the modrons) is made of LN, leading to such things as:
- Formians, who are basically Beast Wars Inferno without a robot mode. They want to enslave everything, because that way everything will be more efficient in the service of the hive.
- Inevitables, extraplanar robots who exist solely to enforce The Rules. Their purposes vary from killing anyone who tries to cheat death (adventurers who are raised once or twice are probably safe, liches and necromancers are screwed) to forcing people to abide by contracts. One Dragon Magazine article on the kolyaruts (the contract ones) stated outright that their reaction to mitigating circumstances is "The circumstances are indeed mitigating, but they are not part of the contract. You are therefore in breach". An entirely acceptable Kolyarut plot would to have one interrupt the standard "rescue the princess" plot by explaining to the paladin that the princess was contractually obligated to remain in the villain's clutches.
- A more terrifying example would be the case of the Kolyarut, Obligatum. After a group of wizards created a powerful entity and then bound it to perform a specific task, they later stopped it and sealed it away. Obligatum was then despatched to free said Entity because the wizards got cold feet and broke the covenant they had made with the entity. The fact that the Entity is Pandorym and is a psionic superweapon tasked solely will annihilating the entire world is utterly irrelevant to Obligatum. You don't break contracts. And there are more to replace him if he fails.
- The plane of Mechanus (and the home of the modrons) is made of LN, leading to such things as:
- If you want to be an avatar of the Executioner (the cosmic archetype of... well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin) in Unknown Armies, you have to play Lawful Neutral to the hilt, including finding an authority to obey. You can't make any moral judgments on your own about how deserving your target is, you just go and carry out the sentence because you're told to.
- Legend of the Five Rings: This is pretty much a requirement for Rokugani citizenship. Even the Yakuza have a Lawful Neutral mindset! (Lawful as in being loyal to their parent clan, that is.)
- The Third Imperium in Traveller. It governs the trade lanes between it's member worlds. However the member worlds are generally allowed to govern themselves as long as they do not violate Imperial standards of conduct to ostentatiously. They are even allowed to fight wars with each other as long as they don't make to much of a mess. And above all they must never interfere with intersteller trade.
- Inspector Javert in Les Misérables. It is only his devotion to the law that drives him to play a bad-guy role in the story.
- The Arbiter in Chess has no interest whatsoever in the tension between the competing nations or the personal conflicts of the participants. (In other words, the entire plot.) All he cares about is that the rules of the game are followed.
- Tear in Recettear is adamant that Recette honor her family's debt to the Terme Finance Corporation, and she does not show any deviance from attaining this goal and is very businesslike about how to run hers and Recette's shop. As the game progresses, she does pick up some Neutral Good tendencies, but otherwise, especially in regards to all matters concerning making money and running Recettear, she remains this alignment without deviance, barring an exception or two made as a result of her Neutral Good tendencies.
- Keisuke in Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor is deliberately Lawful Neutral in contrast to Midori's magical-girl-inspired Lawful Good. He even summons a demon to serve as a judge of evildoers so that his emotions will not affect his judgment, and strongly believes that people who do evil deserve to die for the good of humanity.
- Every named character in Assault Suits Valken / Cybernator.
- CEO Nwabudike Morgan's, of Sid Meyers Alpha Centauri, only real concern is money and expanding his economic empire. But he will not (openly) break the law... he'll instead work to change it, using all his power and influence to do so through perfectly legal channels.
- Sister Miriam Godwinson and her Lord's Believers definitely clock in as Lawful, but whether they are Good (genuinely helping a world filled with sin towards salvation, even when evil resists that salvation), Neutral (upholding the Bible to the absolute letter without care for the meaning behind it), or Evil (fanatics out to actively purge the world of nonbelievers) is really down to how sympathetic the player is to her agenda—the game itself portrays her as aggressive but does not imply her to be good or evil.
- Colonel Corazon Stantiago of the Spartan Federation is slightly less ambiguous. She runs a militaristic Police State and believes strongly in a proper command structure, so she's lawful. She desperately wants the people of Planet to survive, and if she thinks you aren't doing it well enough, she'll bomb you all back to planetfall.
- The alien being Duo from the RockMan.EXE franchise, is tasked with the mission of travelling through space, destroying planets whose evil exceeds certain limits. His single-minded devotion to his mission is obviously Lawful, and his willingness to destroy countless lives in the name of it, certainly doesn't make him Good... yet, he is not openly malicious either. His anime-only henchwoman Slur is quite probably Lawful Evil, though.
- For much of Warcraft III, Tyrande Whisperwind is pretty much a single-minded Lawful Neutral Action Girl. The oath she took to protect Ashenvale is her only priority and until the last moment, she seems outright unwilling to compromise about anything, which almost leads to the Burning Legion's victory. After some Character Development, she moves a bit on the axis, and in the expansion set, she's arguably Neutral Good. Her mantle of Lawful Neutral is then passed down to Maiev Shadowsong, who herself goes absolutely nuts by the end of the expansion pack night elf campaign and turns into some kind of hybrid between all the existing alignments.
- The expansion pack also includes the undead version of Sylvanas Windrunner, who seems to hop between the line of neutral and evil, but is definitely neutral. Whether she merely wants revenge for what she has become and is using the Forsaken to accomplish that or feels a kinship with them because they share her fate is unclear, but she has certainly moved away from the "obvious traitor" spot now that she got her own back stabbed and owes her life to Thrall.
- The Titans in the backstory seem to fit the ball too. They travel the cosmos, ordering worlds. Even though we've hardly seen them in action, they don't really seem to care that much for goodness, but just the avoidance of chaos.
- Three very different sides of Lawful Neutral are present in Planescape: Torment:
- Fall-From-Grace is a puritan succubus who is the very essence of propriety, gentility, and hospitality, but she mainly keeps to herself and doesn't go out of her way to help people—they have to come to her.
- Vhailor, a merciless Knight Templar who is thought to be a bit of a fanatic even by his own faction, a group of criminal-hunters called Mercykillers (so named because they want to destroy the very concept of mercy, as it interferes with proper execution of the law), is the other. However, while he would occasionally jump the gun when he had evidence, he would never prosecute anyone without it, and has let people who have committed terrible acts live and even go free when he thinks they have suffered punishment enough.
- Dak'kon, a retired Warrior Monk and preacher for his species (the Githzerai) who has dedicated his life to his religion and its holy text, the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon. He also owes The Nameless One a life-debt, binding him to your service for as long as you live -- this also gives him a major moral quandary as his religion prescribes that the Gith should never be in bondage to anyone.
- Anomen in Baldur's Gate II starts out as a particularly Jerkass version (and this isn't Fan Wank; since it's a DnD game, we actually know his alignment). He even begrudges the coins you (i.e. not him) give to beggars on the street, since it's encouraging them to avoid working for a living. Character Development can send him to Lawful Good later, though.
- Rich Bitch Karin Kanzuki from the Street Fighter series, as a foil to Chaotic Good Ascended Fangirl Sakura Kasugano. Karin's family motto is to "seek perfection at all costs", meaning that she'll take on any opponent regardless of where they fall on the good/evil scale (though she eschews from using flashy or "dishonorable" fighting techniques). She has very little patience for common folk, but will sometimes stop to lend a hand to a friend in need.
- The two protagonists of Super Robot Wars Advance are at first Lawful Neutral. However, they eventually shift into Lawful Good. In the Original Generations, however, the shift differs...
- Axel Almer starts out Lawful Neutral being the follower of Shadow Mirror, mostly. Even though he has his heavy vendetta against Beowulf, he still obeys Vindel's orders more. In OG Gaiden, however, with his 'law' (the Shadow Mirror) destroyed, he shifts into True Neutral. His OG 2 GBA self, however, is not Lawful Neutral, but Neutral Evil, from his rampant sadism and racism and his vendetta taking more priority than Vindel's order.
- Lamia Loveless mostly follows her original self, from Lawful Neutral shifting into Lawful Good. In OG Gaiden, however, she temporarily shifts into Lawful Evil after being reprogrammed by Duminuss. When that ordeal is over, she shifts back into Lawful Good.
- Heaven is portrayed this way in the Diablo Mythos; notable in that they uphold Order in the universe but don't seem to particularly concerned about "good" (as opposed to their rivals in Hell, who uphold Chaos but are most assuredly very evil.) In fact, Tyrael, the only angel in the games' lore who seems to be in any way good, is considered a rogue by his brethren.
- In the last book of a novel trilogy, we meet the rest of the Council that Tyrael is on when they gather to decide the fate of humanity for being the offspring of angels and demons. One is a fanatic Lawful Neutral who wants to wipe out the humans, another is very nice and on par with Tyrael, another seems neither particularly spiteful or sympathetic, but pragmatic and willing to give humanity the chance to prove themselves and the last seems neutral. Deathly neutral.
- The two Lancers in the Fate series, Cu Chulainn and Diarmuid Ua Duibhne are of Lawful Neutral alignment. Being that they have some... conflicts with their Masters, but choose to serve them with full loyalty. And despite being the antagonistic force, they managed to be friendly with the protagonists.
- Eris from Drakengard 2 starts out with this alignment. While she means well, and wants to protect the world from chaos and destruction, she is blinded by her obedience to the Knights of the Seal and, at first, justifies all of their actions, even the most questionable ones (to the point where she threatens to strike down Neutral Good Nowe for dissenting). Later on, she has a change of heart and gets closer to Lawful Good.
- Sypha Belnades during the course of Castlevania Judgment has this alignment. You know you're in this territory when you attack a good hearted werewolf, just because he IS a werewolf, and thus must equal evil, and wastes no time to listen to reasons (that might be good). To be fair on her, it looks like she softens to something of a Neutral Good or Lawful Good during Dracula's Curse.
- The United Earth Federation and Aeon Illuminate in Supreme Commander, plus possibly the Seraphim, clock in here-all three want to impose their beliefs on the galaxy in a new galactic era of peace and tranquility. Individual characters may lean good or evil, but all three, as whole factions, are very much neutral.
- Miles Edgeworth was like this before shifting to Lawful Good.
- Franziska is also Lawful Neutral most of the time. Not as merciful as Edgeworth, but not as evil as her father Manfred.
- Also Godot, of a more Well-Intentioned Extremist kind. He's merely dislikes Phoenix because he feels that he is responsible for Mia Fey's death.
- Judicator Aldaris considered following the rules of the Conclave significantly more important than survival until well after the spit had hit the fan at supersonic speeds.
- G0-T0 from Knights of the Old Republic II. While his high Dark Side score indicated Lawful Evil, his general philosophy was basically "Keep the Republic going, whatever the cost". He even basically stated that he didn't give a crap whether the winner of the Jedi/Sith war was a noble faction that got a bit arrogant occasionally or a group of backstabbing maniacs who consider puppy sandwiches a good entree, as long as they stopped setting large chunks of the Republic on fire.
- The Kirby games don't have enough dialogue to say for sure, but Meta Knight is definitely Lawful and probably Neutral - quite unusual for the setting.
- The King of Guardia in the present of Chrono Trigger is like this at first, stating that "even royalty must follow the laws of the land", while Crono is wrongly sentenced to imprisonment for three days/death (according to the chancellor). The 1000 AD Chancellor appears to be like this, but he's actually the Neutral Evil Yakra XIII, who wants to avenge his ancestor's defeat in 600 AD.
- Admiral Akkaraju in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division has elements of this, as he's willing to fire the Kato Cannon at Avernus to destroy the Fallen, despite the fact that it would also kill Sanjuro's brainwashed brother Toshiro and their mutual friend Baku, as well as potentially affect Maritropa and Constantine. Then again, he is going against High Command to do so.
- Most members of UNATCO (except for the ones who defect with you could be considered this; they work to put down the terrorist threat, but don't question the circumstances behind the plague or the motivations for suppressing the NSF. They are unaware that they're helping the conspiracy, and thus see their actions as being about preserving order.
- Naoto in Persona 4, straying quite strongly towards Lawful Good.
- Sally Dobbs of Backyard Sports is definitely Lawful Neutral.
- Siegfried from Soul Calibur IV becomes this. Whenever running into him, his only comment is normally "You're in my way, step aside." He's just trying to destroy Soul Edge, defeat the evildoers and bring balance. No matter who gets in his way. Unfortunately, Soul Calibur disagrees.
- Samara of Mass Effect 2 is a justicar, a vigilante Warrior Monk who has sworn their life to obeying a code of conduct. The justicar's code binds her to kill those who harm innocents and save said innocents; although Samara will save a baby from a burning building and put her own life at risk, she does it because her Code demands such action and not because she wants to. Even though the code practically encourages Knight Templar behaviour at times, Samara has been a justicar for a very long time and is surprisingly non-self-righteous in how she views both the code and her forced adherence to it, and also knows how to use loopholes.
- From Touhou Project, Youmu is a strong follower of the Bushido code and one of her most defining traits is for good or ill, her intense loyalty to her mistress Yuyuko. A less prominent example is Momiji.
- Lots of characters in Touhou are Lawful Neutral, usually by the virtue of being a Battle Butler: Sakuya to Remillia, the aforementioned Youmu to Yuyuko, Eirin to Kaguya, Toramaru to Byakuren (borderline Lawful Good).
- And then some characters are Lawful Neutral by nature: Patchouli is deep into her study, Satori is only interested in maintaining order in her domain, the Watatsuki sisters are only doing their job in protecting the Moon.
- Depending on your view, Reimu can be either Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral.
- Really, the prominence of these types of characters really gives a nice bit of contrast to a Chaotic Neutral dominated cast, especially since these tend to be dragons to main villains of said alignment.
- The Qunari in Dragon Age are, as a whole, a highly Lawful Neutral society. Every person in the society has a role that is decided by the government based on their skills to best accommodate them. People do not deviate from their roles in qunari society. In many cases a qunari's name will literally consist of their role and rank in their society, such as the case with Sten. This causes a lot of consternation for Sten himself when he enters Ferelden, where, in his own words, "no one knows their place." If the Warden is female, Sten will be confused as to whether she s a woman or a soldier, as qunari women are not soldiers.
- The Lawful Neutral way of the Qun gets brutally deconstructed in Dragon Age II, where the Arishok and his men are trapped in Kirkwall because the Qun's rigid restrictions on the roles each member of their society makes it difficult for him to function in the middle of a city as mired in greed and violence as Kirkwall, especially as the Qun demands he respond to such "filth". Eventually this pushes him to assault Kirkwall with his army, viewing that as the only way to resolve the demands of the Qun, even if his assault is doomed to failure.
- In Dragon Age II, the Spirit of Vengeance that is joined with Anders acts this way, being formerly a spirit of Justice that became corrupted by Anders' anger and bitterness toward the oppression of mages. Ultimately, Anders himself is of this alignment as well, believing that fighting the injustices against mages is worth any cost. This leads to Anders' destruction of the Kirkwall Chantry and triggering a full-scale war between mages and templars across Thedas.
- The Templars also. Though the ones in Kirkwall were pretty corrupted.
- The Chinese faction from Command & Conquer : Generals
- Cait Sith/Reeve Tuesti is one of these in Final Fantasy VII, at least before Character Development shifts him to Lawful Good.
- G.U.N. from Sonic the Hedgehog started out as this, as they were willing to do almost anything to preserve world order, including imprisoning or "silencing" everyone involved in a failed experiment, including children. After the events of Shadow the Hedgehog, though, they've started to drift towards Lawful Good.
- When you first meet Janos Audron in Soul Reaver 2, you might think he's Lawful Good or Neutral Good. Do not be fooled. His people were a bunch of knight templars who waged a thousand year war against another ancient and powerful race because said race wouldn't bow down to the vampire's god, and banished them to another dimension, raising the Pillars of Nosgoth to keep them sealed and tying the health of the pillars to the land itself. When their enemies afflicted the vampires with blood thirst and undeath as revenge, they passed the curse on to humans(note that they themselves considered the curse a Fate Worse Than Death) in order to keep their enemies banished, kidnapping children and forcing vampirism on them when they came of age. Janos' actions have enough justification, and he's a nice enough guy, to keep him from evil territory, but he's racist and morally questionable enough to keep him out of good.
- The Brotherhood of Steel from the Fallout series largely fall into this category, with the exception Lyon's Brotherhood in Fallout 3, who are more Lawful Good. They are always a lawful and orderly organization, but in the first two games, are very insular in nature. Their primary function is the preservation of technology, not saving the world, and they mostly stick to it. It is possible to get them to take some minor action in the first game, but even after you join them, getting them to help you with anything is like pulling teeth. They very much have the power to oppose the super mutants, but aren't particularly concerned with doing so. One of their doctors even determines via autopsy that the super mutants are sterile and suggests that as a result, the problem will eventually sort itself out, unconcerned with the damage they'll cause in the meantime. Their presence in Fallout 2 is minimal, but the attitude is similar. The Midwestern Brotherhood splinter group from Fallout: Tactics is much more proactive in regards to the state of the world, but their motivation still seems primarily about re-establishing order and civilization, and they're willing to be quite ruthless about it, to the point of reinventing a sort of pseudo-feudalism and using prisoners as essentially slave labor.
- The Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood takes this to extreme levels. Here, their adherence to the codex is actually causing their own downfall, spending just about the entire game in a lockdown which in itself isn't doing much to improve the morale within the chapter. Even after Veronica, the chapter's voice of reason proves that the chapter's actions are wrong, they still remain in their bunker. While they can eventually be convinced to remove the lockdown and re-emerge into the wasteland, their initially overly cautious attitude is not exactly helping them in any way, as several members note during the course of the game.
- Babus from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
- Gauldoth Half-Dead of Heroes of Might and Magic 4 is this. Basically a necromancer who leads a kingdom of both living and undead, and goes through great trouble maintaining the balance between the two sides. He has a strict policy never to harm the living. The only two living people he ever turned into undead were a sadistic officer who wanted to burn him for being half undead, and an old man whose village and entire family were compensated for his sacrifice. Both would later become his loyal underlings. Gauldoth's enemy is a Chaotic Evil Eldritch Abomination who wants to destroy the world because he's evil, but he also disapproves of people fanatically obsessed with the power of good, and won't hold back when proving them wrong.
- A lot of the races of the Covenant could be described as Lawful Neutral. The Sangheili/Elites are very dedicated to their honor codes; the Mgalekgolo/Hunters as well (though not so extreme); the Yanme'e/Drones don't seem to have much individual initiative outside their Hive Mind to think beyond their orders, and the Jiralhanae/Brutes know that questioning orders will result in a very bad day.
- The Elder Gods from Mortal Kombat. They refuse to do anything about the evil figures overrunning the realms or come to Earth's aid during Shao Kahn's invasion based on a minor technicality of the Mortal Kombat rules. They only intervene either when they are directly threatened or someone breaks the rules. By the time they do it is usually nearly too late for even them able to do anything making them seem Lawful Stupid.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, while Shadow the Hedgehog fights for good, it seems that he fights more against chaos and destruction, battling anybody who gets in his way. Eggman as a ruler would most certainly cause chaos, which is the main reason he fights him.
- In the Archie arc "25 Years Later" he became king of Mobius, mercilessly stamping out any rebellion in his desire to maintain order. Not so much because he selfishly wanted power, but in the belief that order - his order - would bring peace. Sonic even comments that Shadow may have been strict, but he sure kept the warlords in line.
- In the Sonic Universe arc "Treasure Team Tango" Shadow (along with Rouge and Omega) fights Team Rose for a Sol Emerald on GUN orders, even though they belong to Blaze's world, and even though he owes Blaze a favour. He lets her have it when he learns her world will be destroyed without them.
- Edgar Ross from Red Dead Redemption is cruel, vicious and unsympathetic, but he is doing what he feels to be just, even if it involves assaulting a farm where a perfectly innocent family lives in order to gun down their repentant patriarch.
- In BlazBlue, there's Iron Tager and Valkenhayn R. Hellsing. Both of these characters have Undying Loyalty to a character (Kokonoe to Tager, and Rachel to Valkenhayn) and will follow their word for good or ill. Even though Kokonoe is a crazy revenge-driven Sociopathic Hero who's willing to nuke Kagutsuchi and kill everyone there just to get at Hazama, and Rachel is an aloof Guile Anti-Hero who generally acts like a snarky bitch, they follow their every word. They are, however, both on the side of good (it's that kind of universe).
- Baron Klaus von Wulfenbach of Girl Genius.
- Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court. It's in her job description: the training of students to mediate parlays between the Court and the Wood. Even though she's employed by the Court, Jones avoids identifying herself with either side (she never refers to either as "us" or "them"), and she criticizes both sides equally for their breaches of etiquette during parlay.
- Order of the Stick's Miko Miyazaki: Although she starts out as a somewhat over-zealous Lawful Good, over the course of the series she devolves into an insanely zealous (read: Lawful Stupid) Knight Templar whose devotion to order is unmatched. It's arguable as to when the shift to Lawful Neutral occurs, but it definitely happens by the time she murders a unarmed cripple because she suspected him of conspiring against the Sapphire Guard.
- Also, Those Two Lawyers.
- Karcharoth, the main character of Cry Havoc sits here. He has a strong sense of loyalty to his squad, friends, and superiors, but little to no regard for anyone or anything else. Including whipping out an entire company of (relatively) innocent French soldiers for the actions of their commander.
- Lee Free Jr. in Everyday Heroes straddles this and Lawful Good which sometimes leads to friction with his Neutral Good dad.
- The Man from The Booth At the End is either this or True Neutral, depending on your point of view. He has a code that he follows unswervingly (ask him for something and he gives you a task which will get you what you want), but the tasks he gives people often are extremely immoral things (murder, theft, etc.). However, he makes clear he never forces anyone to do anything, and sometimes the goal will be accomplished without the task being completed.
- Vork from The Guild is Lawful Neutral to the extreme. Though he's only willing to follow the letter of the law, he doesn't particularly care what the intent is.
- King of the Hill has Hank Hill, who is as painfully straitlaced as a person can get without crossing the line into Lawful Stupid territory. He would be Lawful Good if he were more compassionate, but he has no patience for those who don't fit into his mold.
- He does break the law in a episode when Tran-Fats was banned in Arlen. He stopped afterward realizing breaking the law is not the right way to change the laws. He later managed to blackmail the politicians into lifting the ban.
- Zuko during the first half of season three of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Sokka can very well be argued to be Lawful Neutral. He doesn't particularly care about this "balance" stuff the Neutral Good guys are always going on about, and he is mainly fighting the Fire Nation because they have hurt him personally rather than a sense of moral duty. At the same time, he's hardly a bad person. He also likes schedules.
- The rank-and-file of the Dai Li seem to be this as well, though their leader is more of a strong Lawful Evil.
- The titular penguins in The Penguins of Madagascar are this to varying degrees, because although they are willing to keep peace and order in the zoo, they will not hesistate to beat up anybody who pisses them off.
- Skipper tends towards Lawful Stupid.
- Kowalski remains firmly Lawful, despite his experiments going wrong (he doesn't mean them to).
- Rico tends towards Chaotic Neutral, but usually obeys orders.
- Private tends towards Lawful Good, but sometimes obeys orders of dubious morality because they are orders.
- Count Spankulot from Codename: Kids Next Door is this from "Operation SPANK" and onwards. He would never spank an innocent child and one of the naughty children he's spanked is a fellow villain, Mushi. Before his half-way Heel Face Turn he was Lawful Evil.
- General Molotov on Jimmy Two-Shoes. On the clock, he's Lucius' dragon, a Drill Sergeant Nasty, and a general antagonist. Off the clock, he's pretty affable.
- The Sheriff of Nottingham from Disney's Robin Hood cleverly extorts taxes from the poor not because he bears any of them ill will, but simply because he's been instructed to do so by the cruel Prince John. After one such tax extraction, he even sings to himself about how "I'm just a slob/But I do my job..."
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Mr. Krabs, and possibly Sandy.
- Principal Skinner, while also leaning towards Lawful Evil, is this in that one episode of The Simpsons where Bart has to prove Mayor Quimby's nephew's innocence:
Skinner: Bart I'm impressed with what you did in there. You testified for the Quimby boy even though it was putting your own head in a noose. On the other hand, you skipped school.
Bart: I guess the two things cancel each other out, huh?
Skinner: [sighs] I'm a small man in some ways, Bart. A small, petty man. Three months' detention.
Bart: [groans, walks away]
Skinner: Wait a minute, Bart. Make that...four months' detention.
- Lisa Simpson believes in honesty above anything else. In the end she will always be honest, even when cheating or concealing the truth is to everyone's advantage.
- Not quite always. On at least one occasion, regarding the truth behind Jebediah Springfield's famous quote, she kept shtum.
- Lisa Simpson believes in honesty above anything else. In the end she will always be honest, even when cheating or concealing the truth is to everyone's advantage.
- Shane Gooseman of the Galaxy Rangers. Being the youngest of a Super Soldier project, trained from decant to be a living weapon didn't allow for much of a moral compass. He still developed a semi-functional one, and was questioning his purpose before things went to hell at Wolf Den. With the help of his True Companions and Benevolent Boss said boss also being, secretly, his genetic father, he seems to have clawed his way up to Chaotic or Neutral Good.
- In Tale Spin, Shere Khan was a particularly ruthless Lawful Neutral most of the time. His business dealings could be mercenary and he could personally be vicious and vindictive, but he also had a moral code and a sense of honor. On those occasions he did dip towards Lawful Evil, the episode would usually end with him telling the protagonists something along the lines of "You are right and I will stop taking the action you are opposing. Now get out before I change my mind."
- Commander Feral from Swat Kats. Refusing to bargain with the criminal Metallikats even when they try to reveal the Swat Kats' identity in exchange for their freedom: