Love Redeems

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Love doesn't lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled, but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love, that's what they should teach you to beware, but love itself will save you, not condemn you."


Love is a potent force. The Power of Love is not just a tangible universal constant, but oddly enough, it's also an emotion that is amazingly inimical to a rational, happy life: it can make you crazy or very, very dumb. It can also make an otherwise normal, moral Nice Guy / Nice Girl turn into a Stalker with a Crush, because Love Makes You Evil.

Despite all these obvious reasons to avoid any and all romantic entanglements, Love is very nearly as (or more!) addictive than The Dark Side. These two forces interact very curiously, Love can just as easily lead a Knight in Shining Armor into the Dark Side, as it can drag the most committed, bloodthirsty, puppy-kicking villain kicking and screaming into being redeemed. Whether they're a Fallen Hero who starts Dating Catwoman, a Career Killer who fell In Love with the Mark, or the Necessarily Evil who gains a Morality Pet that gives him something to live for, love tends to corrode evil like lemon on popcorn (and it tastes so good!) even if it frightens at first. By and large, Love tends to subvert rather than aid evil, Unholy Matrimony not withstanding. If it isn't Heroic Resolve it's Heroic Willpower, making even the most soul corrupting evil as weak as a Sickeningly Sweet kitten.

Of course, Redemption Equals Death. Alternately, a spurned evil genius is that much more likely of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and Nuke'Em. If the villain manages to hold on to enough of their evil (or love), they become an Anti-Villain. Sometimes, this comes about when the villain ends up Becoming the Mask, the love she gets so freely sorely tempting her to change sides and do a Heel Face Turn.

It's worth mentioning that this is what the Love Martyr wants to happen, as does the Monster Fangirl and many shippers who put Draco in Leather Pants. In Real Life, this attitude often leads people to the Jerry Springer show; "But he really loves me! Those bruises will heal!"

If the redeemer dies, it's possible their memory and lessons they taught their beloved will stick. On the other hand, the deceased could have been simply holding back the person's evil and they now revert with a vengeance. And of course, we would be remiss if we didn't mention the possibility that instead of curing them, love may very well never change or addict the intended beneficiary. And then, of course, there's what happens when both are evil...

It should be noted that romantic love isn't the only type of love that can redeem someone. Familial and Platonic Love are both capable of this.

Examples of Love Redeems include:

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Yu Yu Hakusho: villain Sensui still tries to do nasty evil things despite being in love with Itsuki. Yusuke remains a jerk through most of the series even though he's in love with Keiko... though you could argue that Yusuke might be on the level of the villains without Keiko's mix of nagging and affection.
    • You could say it was played straight platonically with Kurama and his human mother, Shiori Minamino. He fused with her unborn baby and then planned to abandon her once his injuries were fully healed, but seeing her care for him is what made him one of the good guys.
    • And with Yusuke's ancestor, Lord Raizen. A member of a human-eating species of demon, he fell in love with, and then had sex with, a female doctor in medieval Japan, who had the guts to stand up to him when he tried to eat her (whose lineage later led to Yusuke). When we meet him, he's dying from starvation from refusal to eat human flesh in honor of the lady doctor, who died when she gave birth to their kid aka Yusuke's ancestor. Yusuke, being his most powerful descendant, becomes his successor after Raizen's death.
  • In Sailor Moon, the dark general Nephrite grew to love Naru, best friend to Sailor Moon. Though at first he wondered What Is This Thing You Call Love?, he started to reciprocate her feelings and, since Redemption Equals Death, died of a Heroic Sacrifice to save Naru.
    • "It seems...we are not gonna have our milkshake." Saddest moment of my childhood EVER.
    • This repeated itself in Sailor Moon R with Saphir and Petz, though Petz was already a redeemed villainess.
      • And Petz herself was redeemed because of the love of her younger sisters Beruche, Cooan and Cadaberas. In fact, except for Cooan, all the Ayakashi sisters had their Heel Face Turns as their siblings tell them that they're not alone and they can hace a peaceful life as humans.
  • In Princess Tutu, Dark Magical Girl Rue eventually turns against the Big Bad Raven because of her love for Mytho. Of course, that was the reason for her evil actions in the first place...
  • The gentlemanly nihilist Celestin in Ah! My Goddess was redeemed, not by anyone loving him directly, but by feeling the love between Keiichi and Belldandy (he'd used Grand Theft Me on Keiichi, at the time). Knowing such a thing could exist, he regained faith in existence and ceased his attack on reality.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The love between Seto and Kisara saved Seto from accepting the lure of The Dark Side and later from being possessed by his father.
  • Sara from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is an odd case. Love Makes You Evil took effect when she was sixteen, having been tricked into believing she'd been abandoned. Now, at twenty-three and aiming to destroy the world, she realizes that the poor guy was innocent just as a chandelier falls on him and goes back to good. The anime does away with the chandelier.
  • Brutally subverted in season two of Code Geass, when Rolo, Lelouch's fake brother/would-be assassin, does his Heel Face Turn. Lelouch saves Rolo's life, then tells Rolo that even though the memories of their relationship were fake the feelings were still real, and Rolo 'isn't suited to death and violence.' Since Rolo had been showing signs of attachment to Lelouch, and his life before posing as Lelouch's brother had been one assassination mission after another, this of course causes him to switch sides. Lelouch's next internal monologue, however, reveals that he had staged the whole thing in order to convert Rolo, and that he fully intends to 'use him up and throw him away like a dirty rag', as a kind of revenge for daring to replace Nunnally.
    • The cruelest part? In episode 19, when Lelouch was betrayed and abandoned by everyone, Rolo was the only one who stayed with Lelouch, even after Lelouch admitted he was just using Rolo. And then, Rolo died.
    • And at the same time used straight with Viletta and Ougi, after going through the revolving door for Viletta as she and Ougi do get a happy Disney wedding.
      • Which in a cruel twist of irony led to the aforementioned betrayal of the Black Knights against Lelouch, and Rolo's self-sacrificial rescue, followed by Lelouch enacting the Zero Requiem as a result of feeling he had no one else to turn to in order to carry on, and dying in the end. Which, along with Ohgi's and Villetta's questionable actions and motivations as a result, may make it another subversion.
  • This is the reason why the Wolkenritter weren't the cold-blooded weapons that the Space/Time Administration Bureau remembered when they appeared in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Because Hayate loved them so and treated them as her family, the Wolkenritter gained personalities with kind hearts. Even the Book of Darkness was affected, with the love she had for her mistress having grown so strong that she was willing to sacrifice herself to protect her mistress.
  • Plays a major role in all parts of Robotech/Macross series: The Zentraedi, Meltrandi, Robotech Masters and even Invid make a Heel Face Turn upon discovering love.
  • Used in Fist of the North Star repeatedly, often crossed over with Redemption Equals Death. Especially obvious in the case of Raoh. Just as Yuria admits she's about to die, Raoh realizes that he loves her. However, he really, really, wants to fight Kenshiro. More than just about anything else, including conquering the whole world. So he hits a few pressure points, ensuring that Yuria will live a little while longer, and goes to fight Ken, knowing full well he has no chance of winning.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, the implication is that once upon a time Spike and his Evil Counterpart Vicious were the same until the love between Spike and Julia turned Spike good.
  • In Fruits Basket Kagura confesses that she pursued Kyo because she thought that loving him would cancel out some cruel and selfish behavior toward him, but now she realizes that it was as selfish as the original actions.
    • Both Kyoko and Kyo became happier, nicer people after Katsuyo and Tohru respectively entered their lives, as those were the first people to treat them so well.
  • In the Fatal Fury first movie, young Lily Maguire was a pawn in Geese Howard's plan to murder his old rival Jeff. She grew up into a gorgeous and flirty Femme Fatale, but could never forgive herself for her role in Jeff's death, until she met Jeff's eldest son Terry and gradually recovered her hope in life. But since this is Terry Bogard we're talking about...
  • Digimon Adventure - Yamato usually only gets a grip and starts acting like part of a team after someone else (specifically Taichi, but there are other examples - Yamato was a bit slow on the uptake) nearly gets themselves killed trying to help him and his Crest activates. He has a few snap backs until finally getting the hang of the whole thing, at which point there's the whole holding hands and being shot with arrows of concentrated love thing...
  • Brutally averted in Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, where the protagonist's loyalty to his pack proves stronger than his love for the girl. In the end he shoots her under orders from his superior.
  • Similar to the Princess Tutu example, the final episode of Prétear has Sasame throwing himself in the way of an attack meant for Takako/Fenrir. This selfless act saves them both from the dark power they'd been possessed with—but considering they both ended up that way because of their unrequited love in the first place...
  • Given the series's emphasis on The Power of Love, it should come as no surprise that this trope shows up in Eureka Seven. Though it takes almost the entire series, Anemone, Eureka's Evil Counterpart, is finally redeemed by The Power of Love in true Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Once Juudai remembers his vow to always love Yubel, it's that love that leads him to choose Super Fusion to add to her hand, giving him the chance to fuse their souls together, purging her of the Light of Ruin, redeeming his mistakes and hers as well.
  • Boa Hancock of One Piece starts off as an absolute dog-kicking bitch. However, after falling in love with Luffy, she begins to turn around, and eventually becomes an overall nice person (to her allies, anyway). Not to say that Luffy returns her feelings, but still.
    • What manga were you reading? Sure, she's nice to Luffy, but she's still just as much a dog-kicking bitch to every other person.
  • Done in a very low-key but realistic manner in The Weatherman Is My Lover, where both of the lonely Stepford Smiler characters help each other change for the better through The Power of Love.
  • Vegeta sacrificed himself in Dragonball Z in order to save his loved ones in a Redemption Equals Death way. Goku later used his feelings for Bulma as a way to get him to use the fusion earring.
  • While it never really convinced them to become permanent good guys, Pokémon's Team Rocket care enough for their Pokémon (and each other) that they go out of their way to help them in times of trouble. (see "A Poached Ego" and "Crossing Paths" for some excellent examples, although you should also bring a tissue)
  • In Bleach, Orihime looked to be guiding Ulquiorra this way... until karma caught up with him for the shit he had pulled on her and others before, and the Heel Face Door slammed him. (Don't tell his creepy and rabid fans, though.)
  • In Fairy Tail, as the Tenrou Island Arc begins to wind down, Ultear and Meredy are leaving the island via boat, where Ultear confirms that she was the one who attacked Meredy's village. She then stabs and throws herself overboard, her My God, What Have I Done? moment overtaking her will to live. However, Meredy uses her magic to learn exactly how Ultear feels, and saves her from death while saying they can forget about Grimoire Heart and live on together, coupled with a declaration of love. Many Awws ensued.

Comic Books

  • In Aquaman, the post-Brightest Day origins of Mera, Aquaman's wife. Once the princess of Xebel, an ancient penal colony of outcasts and rebels from Atlantis, she was born, bred an raised as a tool to find, infiltrate and destroy Atlantis from within, starting with the then current king. While feigning closeness to Orin, however, she started to get real feelings for him, eventually defecting from Xebel and becoming a powerful heroine on her own.

Fan Works

  • In The Sun Soul, Misty's fight against Team Rocket goes from a quest for revenge against the former teammates that tried to kill her to an outright Heel Face Turn because of love for/from Ash.
  • In the Oneiroi Series, Redcloak's love for Vaarsuvius and Tiasal makes him Heel Face Turn where even the death of his brother couldn't. To a lesser extent, Vaarsuvius's love for him smoothed out the edges and made her considerably less on the evil side of neutrality. With any luck, love for her family will redeem Tiasal before she goes too far down a dark road...
  • In The Legend of Spyro a New Dawn every major villain who makes a Heel Face Turn does so due to love for someone else. Cyros' love for her Parental Substitute Kage snaps her out of her being Drunk on the Dark Side and her love for her brother Pyrus finishes the job. She then takes an attack meant for Spyro and Cynder, causing Deadlock to have a My God, What Have I Done? reaction and snap out of her own insanity out of love for her children. Finally, the Nagas' love and loyalty towards Deadlock triggers their mass Heel Face Turn as well. The Big Bad General Grendel subverts this trope by murdering his lover in coldblood as a intentional Foil for Deadlock and Cyros.
  • Fluttercruel in the Pony POV Series, of the Parental Love variety. She is technically Fluttershy's and Discord's daughter, or at least considered such by herself and Fluttershy, despite that they're Sharing a Body. At first she behaved like Discorded!Fluttershy, but Fluttershy's maternal love ultimately turns her into a much better pony.
    • Subverted hard with Discord. Neither Celestia's romantic love for him nor Shady's maternal love were capable of redeeming him.


  • Mandatory Star Wars example: Darth Vader, after a tense scene where he balances the death of his only son against his long-held dreams of power, makes his choice, abandons everything he has worked for, and sends the Emperor hurling down the Death Star reactor shaft. He then dies, redeemed. Ironically, love both redeemed and corrupted him, as he joined The Dark Side because of his love for his wife, whom he had prophetic dreams of death about. Too bad about the Prophecy Twist, really.

"I don't want to get too sentimental here, uncle Luke, but don't underestimate The Power of Love. It's pulled two family members back from the Dark Side already. Ben's sixteen, but he's not a fool."

  • In the classic Beatles animated film, Yellow Submarine, the group is able to free Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. However, they immediately offer to forgive the Meanies if they join together in peace. True to the spirit of the times, the Meanies sincerely accept the offer and everyone celebrates with the music of the band.
  • In Unforgiven, William Munny (Clint Eastwood), known in his youth as an infamous gunfighter, murderer and bandit, has since retired having forsworn his criminal ways through the influence of his late wife.
  • In Salt, thanks to her husband's genuine love, Evelyn Salt had no intention of carrying out Orlov's orders. In fact, all her actions, including faking the Russian Prime Minister's death, was to save her husband.
  • If The Deaths of Ian Stone is any indication, love can even redeem Eldritch Abominations--or love for a human can, at least.
  • Basically the way Bill Murray gets out of the time loop in Groundhog Day.
  • In the original, silent The Thief of Bagdad, the thief magically gets into the palace and falls in love with the princess, leaving without taking more than a token. Then he disguises himself as a prince and tries to win her, and gives that up because it's lying. He is in despair until receiving the advice to become a prince to win her. He then sets out to win her properly.
  • The villain in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation is turned from being an entity of pure evil into a human after he realized what he felt for a human girl.


  • In the Harry Potter series, it's revealed in Deathly Hallows that Snape did his Heel Face Turn out of love for Lily. Although he never stopped being a Jerkass.
    • A milder example in the same book occurs when Narcissa Malfoy lies to Voldemort about Harry's death, thus protecting him, as her only remaining motivation is her love for Draco.
    • This is pretty much the defining trope of Harry Potter. If a character truly loves another, then they become at least somewhat sympathetic. Inversely, pretty much all of the characters who don't love are complete monsters.
  • In Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, the evil Tania falls in love with the protagonist Bane and has a Heel Face Turn (and a serious personality change), though she ends marrying someone else as Bane is already married.
  • This trope is a biggie in the eighteenth-century novel Pamela by Samuel Richardson, a book that intended to be about proper conduct. A young waiting-maid's mistress dies, and so the household is given over to her son, Mr. B, who quickly sets his sights on Pamela's "virtue." She manages to refuse his advances despite his hostile behavior and attempts to full-out rape her, and eventually decides to quit and return home. Only the carriage meant to take her home kidnaps her to one of Mr. B's other estates, where she is held prisoner with her virtue as the ransom. She endures more of his advances, until finally Mr. B reads the letters she's been writing detailing her imprisonment and just then realizes what a terrible human being he's been. He lets her go, but Pamela realizes she's in love and accepts his marriage proposal. And suddenly Mr. B has been supporting an illegitimate child all this time, so he's really a good guy, honest!
  • In Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Rebellious Princess Miriamele attempts to invoke this trope to bring her father, Unwitting Pawn Elias, back from the brink of releasing the Sealed Evil in a Can Storm King. It doesn't work, but after the summoning is interrupted by Simon and Camaris, he regains enough sanity to beg her to kill him. She does, saving the world.
  • In the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, priestess Crysania believes that she can pull this off for dark wizard Raistlin. The actual redemption comes at the last second, in the form of Raistlin's estranged twin brother.
  • This is heavily implied in the case of Richard and Alec's departure in The Privilege of the Sword.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, both Denna and Nicci are redeemed by their love for Richard Rahl. Neither of them actually gets to be with him, as he was already with Kahlan, but Denna died shortly afterwards and Nicci clearly stated that I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Many fans of Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker theorize that this happened to Garrid. When you think about it, it actually makes sense. Pre-Li'l: Cold, cunning, a liar, and something of a Jerkass. Post-Li'l: Funny, relaxed, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, very helpful ally to have around. Depending on your view, he could also have qualified as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold all along—it just took Garrid falling for Li'l for it to show.
  • In Death: Eve and Roarke certainly experience this from their relationship.
  • Played With on an ongoing basis in the Dresden Files - love can save a White Court Vampire before their first feeding, but once their demon has asserted itself, love is merely dangerous. Harry tries to invoke this for Molly Carpenter, his apprentice. He tries to avert the romantic aspect of that as much as possible (for obvious, squicky reasons), but seems to have failed as of Ghost Stories.
    • Turns out that it was true for Charity Carpenter as well, redeemed by her love for her husband.
    • Brutally averted for Shadowman, Susan Rodriguez, and the Denarians.
      • Turns out that the Knights of the Cross exist to fulfill this trope, turning the hosts of the Denarians against their Fallen Angel. One of their swords is even named "The Sword of Love". Yeeesh. Don't think that they wont work with the occasional wizard who knows how to deliver the alternative for great justice.

Live Action TV

  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • In a Real Life example from Survivor, Jonny Fairplay was recently invited back onto the show for its latest season, Fans vs. Favorites. Fans who remember Fairplay from the season he previously appeared on, Pearl Islands, remember him as a deplorable bastard who went so far as to lie about his grandmother's death to win an immunity challenge. During Fans vs. Favorites, however, he was noticeably subdued, mentioning his girlfriend and his unborn child several times, and then getting himself voted off the island so that he could return and be with them.
  • In Battlestar Galactica, Athena was supposed to seduce Helo into impregnating her so her race could get their hands on a human/cylon hybrid. However, she switches allegiances when she realizes that she had fallen in love with him. Caprica-Six starts a movement to change the Cylon plan because she's in love with Dr. Baltar.
    • In The Plan, we see that the titular plan of the Cylons unraveled because so many of them fell in love with humans and switched sides.
  • In "The Armageddon Factor", the Season 16 finale of Doctor Who, only Romana is able to stop the Doctor from doing a Face Heel Turn after gaining the MacGuffin Cosmic Keystone. The Shadow's reaction is epic. (Don't worry if you have no idea who or what the Shadow is. He's there to be defeated by Romana's love. That's all you need to know.)
    • This trope is supposedly what caused the Ninth Doctor to not be totally depressed/suicidal/batshit insane after the Time War because he met Rose.
    • It is because of how strong Amy and Rory love each other that Rory is able to come back to life with his soul and overcomes his impulses to kill. A bit too late for Amy, but she too gets better.
  • Damon Salvatore becomes less of a villain around the time he begins to fall in love with Elena.
  • Kamen Rider has a few examples:
    • In Kamen Rider Double, Ryu Terui loses his craze for vengeance partly because of his love for Akiko.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki's Ren/Knight claims that his fiancée is the reason he gave up his previous life of delinquency and petty crime. He ultimately enters the Rider War to save her.
    • In Kamen Rider Decade, Natsumi's influence over Tsukasa is a major reason why he ultimately stops being the Destroyer of Worlds.

Tabletop Games

  • Exalted gives us the Abyssals, the result of what happens when Solar Exaltations are corrupted to serve the cause of death by the Neverborn. There's just one small problem—those Solar shards still have bonded Lunar mates. And where an Abyssal usually picks up Resonance from engaging in "lively" activities (e.g., siring children, having sex with the living), they accrue none of it if they're with their Lunar mate. Oh, and since the Neverborn stripped out the Great Curse to make way for Resonance, if the Lunar manages to actually redeem the Abyssal back into being a Solar... they now have no psychological limitations that would directly drive them towards being nanners. Good show, dead gods.
    • Return of the Scarlet Empress also suggests that the Yozis will run into a similar problem with their corrupted Solars, the Infernals. Once their work gets underway, odds are likely that quite a few of them are going to rediscover their bond with the Lunars and turn their back on the Reclamation.

Video Games

  • Knights of the Old Republic contains both straight and subverted examples:
    • A male protagonist can redeem Bastila more easily if they've fallen in love during the game. However, if you fail, she tells you that her feelings for you helped to hasten her fall to the Dark Side. However, if the male protagonist chooses to go Dark Side then him and Dark Side Bastila go on to become a happy little Sith couple, thus subverting the trope again.
    • Meanwhile, if a female protagonist turns to the Dark Side, Carth attempts to offer her a Last Second Chance. The official version of the game subverts the trope at this point, as the PC can't be redeemed through Carth's love and the player's only options are to have the PC kill him herself or to allow Bastila to cut him down. A third option cut from the official release, however, would have allowed the PC to be redeemed.
    • This is also (in a more subdued manner, due to cuts fueled by Executive Meddling) shown in the sequel with Atton and the female Exile, if she's Light-Sided. Of course, if she's not Light-Sided...
    • The sequel also contains Visas, who starts as a Sith apprentice and ends up abandoning her Sith ideology if the player is light-side. This is an example of the Power of Friendship if the player is female, though.
    • Jolee's backstory subverts this trope. All the same, though, he maintains that love will save you, not condemn you; it's unrestrained passion that is dangerous.
  • Neverwinter Nights contains an example near the end with Aribeth. That scene is so similar to the one mentioned in the Knights of the Old Republic section that it seems like they just rewrote some of the dialogue to make it make sense in the Star Wars context, in addition to recycling the character.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has something like this with Neeshka if a male player has enough Influence with her in the ending sequence of the main campaign.
    • And in Mask of the Betrayer, love is the primary thing that gives people the strength to challenge the monsterous injustice of the Wall of the Faithless.
    • And the cut conclusion for Bishop's romance arc.
  • Jaffar in Fire Emblem 7 was a heartless killer until he met Plucky Girl Nino. His newfound ability to feel led him to rescue her from assassins and (if they get enough support conversations) eventually fall in love with her.
  • One of the protagonist's love interests in Baldur's Gate II is Viconia DeVir who, being a drow, has an evil alignment. However, a non-evil protagonist can eventually convince her to change her alignment to True Neutral in Throne of Bhaal.
  • Tragically averted in Breath of Fire IV. The Big Bad, Fou-lu, is beginning to nurse a soft spot for the girl that took care of him when he's injured. The girl, Mami, tried holding off soldiers from the Empire that are hunting Fou-lu just so he can escape, and gets captured herself. She's later used as a Sacrificial Lamb for the Nightmare Fueled Carronade, aimed at Fou-lu himself. Even before the cannon was fired at him, Fou-lu feels compelled to Kill'Em All more than ever...
  • Inverted and then played straight in Fate/stay night. Heavens feel route, Sakura goes from the slightly ditzy, easily embarrassed girl with an obvious crush on Shirou that gets shoved out of the first two routes early into an all powerful monster that unknowingly devours humans and Servants. She is, in fact, possessed by the Devil (essentially). As a result of Shirou returning her feelings for her, she eventually kills her (adoptive) brother (who is attempting to rape her) in order to protect her relationship with him, and then consciously accepts her dark side. Played straight in that she gets better because Shirou and even Tohsaka don't abandon her.
  • Kohaku in Tsukihime when you finally find out how messed up she is and then get the chance at her path. She almost lampshades it at the end of Hisui's route where she notes rather calmly that if Shiki hadn't confused the behavior of her in the past for Hisui now and given her back the ribbon she would have called off her plan.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation give Wodan Ymir Sanger Zonvolt's clone redemption in this manner. He originally was given the mission of protecting "Magus" as a way of tethering his persona and keeping him under control, but when he actually fell hard for her, his creator, Lemon, more or less told him to follow his own will and do what he thought was right. As a result, he does a Heel Face Turn, joins up with Sanger, and together kick an EPIC amount of ass, with Wodan dying, but having the eternal respect of Sanger, the woman he loved protected (and Sanger taking up the mission to do so in Wodan's place per dying request), and he got to die as his own person, not just an enslaved construct.
  • In Yo-Jin-Bo, Ittosai is slowly redeemed by your love for him if you choose his path.
  • Zevran Arainai in Dragon Age.
    • But subverted for Morrigan. She sees this trope coming and backpedals desperately to stay a bitch.
    • The sequel viciously subverts this with Anders. As his sanity slips away and Vengeance corrupts him further and further, he pleads with Hawke to help him find the ingredients to create a potion that will separate him from his demon side. It turns out that the ingredients are actually components for a bomb, and Hawke's love has made him/her an unwitting accomplice rather than his redeemer. The same thing happens whether or not you romance him, but it hurts a lot more when it telegraphs and then snatches away this trope.
  • Jack/Subject Zero in Mass Effect. Golly, BioWare loves this one.
    • There's also Thane Krios, although he was aware of this trope before he meets Shepard, with his wife, who dies. Although it can be presented to him again, if a female Shepard decides to romance him.
  • Virgil from Xenosaga. What makes this interesting is that the person that made him have a case of Love Hurts (Febronia) is also the one that redeems him.
  • Count Bleck/Blumiere in Super Paper Mario actually ends up saving the world more or less thanks to this. After being reunited with his true love that he previously thought was dead, he pulls a Heel Face Turn that is powerful enough to recharge the Pure Hearts and break the Final Boss's invincibility.
  • In the DS remake of Dragon Quest IV, beating the boss at the end of the Bonus Dungeon for the first time allows the player to obtain a Yggdrasill flower, which is used to resurrect Rose, the Big Bad's girlfriend. Bringing her to where Psaro was will not only cause him to revert back to his normal self after a nice flashback, but he will join your party.
  • Implied to be the reason why Richard Ames allowed Nastasha Romanenko to live through the operation as well as supply evidence against the Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's in-game novel: In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth. Suffice to say, he also ended up paying for it dearly for it in the game when the Patriots decided to off him during the Big Shell Incident.
  • A probably platonic example may be found in the Ace Attorney series with Phoenix and Edgeworth. Phoenix's devotion to and faith in Edgeworth is what prompts the latter's Heel Face Turn.
  • Played straight and subverted in Red Dead Redemption, as John Marston's love for his family ultimately leads him to evacuate his wife and son while the army guns him down, knowing that they won't be safe until it's over. Subverted in that Jack was corrupted by the time he spent with John, using the lessons he learned to become a man like his father, exactly what John died trying to prevent.
  • In Radiant Historia, the true ending of the game has the Big Bad Heiss finally accepting his place as the Sacrifice to spare Stocke, whom he truly loved as a nephew, the same fate.
  • In Dark Souls Eingyi was a nasty little joker, and is implied to be the reason why the swamp below Blighttown is poisonous. However, after meeting the Fair Lady and her saving his life at the expense of her own health, he happily resigned himself to serving the Ill Girl faithfully and carrying her eggs for her.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Supervillainess Sahar in the Whateley Universe. She has a psychic ability to - once she's seduced a Psi - get so close that she can learn to copy that Psi's best 'knacks'. This makes her a ruthless femme fatale, until she falls in love with a mark, Zenith. She doesn't know how to handle that. So it takes a different kind of love - friendship - to get her to finish her Heel Face Turn. And she gets Zenith back.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, John Rizzolo pulls a Heel Face Turn when the lover he's been after the whole time, Emma Babineux, kisses him. Cruelly subverted when Rizzolo reveals he was just using that as a way to get Emma in a vulnerable position, and proceeds to stab her and then shoot her in the head.
  • Played rather straight in A Very Potter Musical with Voldemort and Quirrell, but when it comes to Draco, it may qualify as a Zig-Zagging Trope.
  • My Immortal has Enoby travel back in time to seduce Voldemort in order to invoke this trope. Subverted when she gets Satan and Hedwig back together.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai, out of love for Zuko, aids his and Sokka's escape from the Boiling Rock. She even tells Azula that she loves Zuko more than she fears her. When Azula tries to kill her for that defiance, Ty Lee blocks Azula's chi out of love for Mai. Both end up prisoners, but loving their friends/boyfriends more than fearing her spelled the beginning of the end for Avatar's favorite Magnificent Bastard. Oh dear God, was it ever.
  • To a lesser extent, the Kevin Levin from Ben 10 Alien Force. According to his character profile on Cartoon Network's new MMO, Fusionfall, his fondness for Gwen is keeping him in check.
  • Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast is cursed to look horrible by an enchantress. He doesn't get the respect of Belle until he starts acting kinder to her and the others, and ultimately their love is what breaks the curse on him.
  • Gargoyles ' David Xanatos started his lengthy path to redemption (or at least relative neutrality) after admitting his love for Fox.
    • His love of his and Fox's son Alexander also plays a part; after Goliath saves his son from Oberon, he becomes determined to repay the gargoyles for their help.
  • In addition to Becoming the Mask, in Lion King II, Kovu is redeemed by his love for Kiara.
  • The Venture Brothers: Word of God has stated that The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are meant to be a subversion - they are still irredeemably evil even if they do have a loving, functional relationship. The fandom, however, tends to ignore their Moral Event Horizon moments and assume that this trope is in effect. It helps that said moments are usually absolutely hilarious.
  • In |Hercules, Broken Bird Megara worked for the villain for two-thirds of the movie and only changed her ways out of love for Hercules, eventually even sacrificing her life for him (don't worry, She Gets Better).
    • Interestingly, the movie has that this was subverted in her backstory - she sold herself to Hades and her former lover promptly ran off with another girl.
  • Ken in Toy Story 3 pulls a Heel Face Turn after falling in love with Barbie
  • The basic moral of Despicable Me
  • ReBoot. Matrix's love for AndrAIa is really the only thing that kept him from becoming a complete psychopath during the Time Skip in the games. Shes also the only person that can reliably get him to calm down when his short temper gets the better of him.
  • In the series finale of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Omnicidal Maniac Spider-Carnage regains his sanity for a brief moment when he meets the Uncle Ben of another alternate universe (all of the alternate universes have critical differences in Peter's life, in this one the big difference is that Ben didn't die). Sadly, the Carnage symbiote's grip on his mind is too strong, so he throws himself into another dimension separate from all others to keep his bomb from destroying all reality.