Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Now now, of course we think of you as a human being with real value, Faceless Soldier Number TK421. What ever would have made you think differently?"

Nathaniel: I've always treated her like a queen, but lately I'm starting to feel there's this whole other side to her, like I don't even know her anymore.
Radio Therapist: I think you need to take her aside and find out how she really feels about you.
Narissa: Hello, worthless. Miss me?


The Big Bad has a loyal minion who has been feeling... somewhat less than loyal recently. Maybe he met the heroes and liked them. Maybe he discovered more than a few reasons to believe that his master wasn't as nice as he seemed. Maybe he's not sure he approves of the current plot. Maybe he just learned what the plan really was. Whatever the reason, he is pondering a difficult dilemma. Remain loyal, or betray the boss?

Fortunately, the Big Bad is willing to help him come to a decision. He immediately starts doing everything in his power to make the minion feel hurt and miserable, possibly going as far as saying We Have Reserves, thus perfectly solidifying and justifying the inevitable Heel Face Turn or Mook Face Turn.

Such evil overlords should be far more careful with their Villain Balls... Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, will you?

Villains who think It's All About Me are particularly prone to this—and particularly prone to being shocked when the minion leaves.

Evil Cannot Comprehend Good is often, though not always, an element in their motivations. A particularly Magnetic Hero can usually tip the balance in his favor with a few kind words, or just by showing how he treats his friends. Indeed, when the villain goes for Flaw Exploitation, endangering his minions to force the hero to save them, or just leaving them in danger because he knows the hero will save them, the contrast is generally as vivid as it gets.

Not to be confused with Even Mooks Have Loved Ones, where the minion considers betraying the boss for being cruel to their friends or relatives. Contrast Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand. Watch out for Deadly Change-of-Heart. Cross your fingers for Redemption Earns Life. Compare Rebellious Rebel, where the original discovery of the villain's treachery motivates his defection. Also see Capulet Counterpart. When the villain's words and acts draw the character, see Bring Them Around. See also Who's Laughing Now? for when a Butt Monkey minion commits a Face Heel Turn due to mistreatment from the Good Is Not Nice hero. If the minion in question ends up betraying and finishing off his/her former boss without actually defecting to the other side, it is The Dog Bites Back.

SPOILERS for many Heel Face Turns follow.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Examples of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate doesn't truly give up on being a Love Martyr to Precia until Precia gives a speech about how useless and pointless Fate was. While she does a Heel Face Turn, she doesn't give up on trying to redeem Precia.
  • Bunbee in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 does two Heel Neutral Turns when he realizes that his employers don't appreciate him, are blocking his dream of advancement and will likely send him to his death. He finally does a full Heel Face Turn at the end.
  • Kaoru in Flame of Recca is an example. After Kurei breaks his promise with Kaoru and tortures Yanagi, Kaoru abandons him, and joins up with Recca several chapters later. Why? Because Yanagi was nice to him.
  • Now and Then, Here and There. Hamdo's not really is not helping his own case by continuously abusing his Hypercompetent Sidekick Abelia, even after the last bastion of La Résistance has been crushed.
  • Inuyasha: Kagura got so sick of Naraku treating her like a slave she actively colluded with the good guys. Probably remembering the end that Kagura came to, Kanna gave Naraku the metaphorical finger by committing suicide as ordered, but without taking Inu-Yasha and his True Companions with her. She even gives Kagome advise on Naraku's weakness when one shard hits her eye.
  • A variant in which the mistreated underlings turn evil happens in one filler episode of Naruto, Kunihisa's helpers, whom he summons by throwing money (for example, throwing money at something he wants them to retrieve, or paying them to dress up as him in a crude imitation of the Shadow Clone Jutsu) turn on him and assist the people trying to kidnap him when he runs out of money. In canon, Karin gives up on Sasuke after he shoots a Chidori Blade through her to get to Danzo, and abandons her for being weak.
  • Gemini in Fairy Tail cannot kill Lucy after seeing how kind she is and how much she values her spirits. Gemini's former master wasn't quite as bad as other examples of celestial mages, but thought nothing of inflicting non-lethal damage on her own spirits to secure victory. Even what seemed like an inanimate object refused to hit her. At the end, they all join Lucy.
  • A bit of a sick inversion happens in the Soul Eater manga. After spending his-or-her entire life as his/her mother's personal, human Guinea pig, Chrona has effectively gone insane. Then her mother, Medusa, suddenly starts apologizing to her for everything she's done and even hugs her, calling her "her pride." The fact that Chrona has never seen Medusa act in a way besides "abusive mother," Chrona gets convinced that this is not the real Medusa, and completely butchers her. The end of the chapter implies that this is part of Medusa's plan.

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • In Shadow Dragon8685's Misfiled Dreams Jenny Jr. has already been awed by the friendliness and compassion of Ash and Emily, so what better way for her Manipulative Bitch of a mother to keep her on side than by verbally abusing and disowning her. Jenny Jr.'s Heel Face Turn is probably the easiest decision ever made as a result.
  • In An Entry With a Bang!, the Buron Cavalry decide to try and get in Clancy-Earth's good graces after they find out that C-Earth has nukes and Vorax did not mention as such beforehand. Aladdin Al Azim does the same after he realises that the Earthers he faces includes Muslims and that Mecca is one of Vorax's targets.


  • Colonel Cutter in Antz seems to start turning when General Mandible seems more intent on taking over, but is otherwise totally and completely loyal. Until the end of the film, that is, when he does finally turn.
  • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Miss Waller is loyal to Lex Luthor right up until she realizes he's gone bat-shit crazy. Mind you, he doesn't mistreat her, he hits on her in the mistaken belief this will somehow cement her loyalty, instead of creeping her the hell out. Being high and insane is not actually that good for your charisma.
  • Luthor's deeply creepy treatment of his brainwashed replacement Superman in the Superman: Doomsday movie. It's a disturbing cross of Abusive Parents and really blatant Foe Yay, and his eventual "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it" both inspires the betrayal and gives Cloneboy the hint to look inside his own skull for a lead-wrapped Krytonite bomb, and carve it out. Mind you, you can't say Cloney Heel Face Turns; Lex's whole threat-inducing problem with him is how fast he's careering into Knight Templar Beware the Superman territory. He just turns on Lex, and then slaughters the whole clone army while they're still in their pods, because there aren't going to be any evil Supermen on his watch, nuh-uh. Just a terrifying one. And to be fair, while he'd killed a murderer he only threatened the old woman with the cat, and blew up the guns of cops trying to arrest him... Anyone familiar with the character of Post-Crisis Superboy, Conner Kent, finds this especially freaky, since it's like his origin story gone all wrong. Well, wronger than it was to begin with.
  • The Lion King
    • At the end of the original film, Scar's plea for mercy from Simba wasn't very convincing or effective, but his Karmic Death could have been averted if he hadn't slagged off the hyenas at the same time.
    • In the sequel, the Outsiders from Simba's Pride's main reason for defecting to Simba's Kingdom essentially amounted to disgust towards Zira after she made the mistake of threatening her own daughter, Vitani with death if she didn't obey her command.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, the captain of Lord Shen's wolves refuses to fire a cannon that would kill their own men. Lord Shen kills him immediatly and fires the cannon himself.
  • In The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible grabs Mirage and threatens her life, Syndrome calls his bluff, knowing Mr. Incredible couldn't hurt a helpless woman. While he was spot on about Mr. Incredible, he completely failed to realize that Mirage would be upset at being treated as expendable, and might admire Mr. Incredible for his concern. She already had doubts after Syndrome ordered missiles launched at a plane with children in it.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Kronk, Yzma's Dumb Muscle, is treated like dirt throughout the entire film without seeming to be overly bothered by it. Towards the end, after taking a moment to consult (out loud) with his shoulder morality companions, Yzma finally snaps and starts into a particularly vicious tirade. The clincher is claiming to have never liked his spinach puffs.
  • Diego from Ice Age. Soto should have been more appreciative.
  • Iago from Aladdin: The Return of Jafar.
  • Helga Sinclair from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as a result of Rourke throwing her off a balloon at a very great height, nearly killing her in the process. Her response?
  • In V for Vendetta, after V offers Creedy the chance to betray Adam Sutler, Sutler almost comically goes out of his way to blame Creedy for everything, ensuring his upcoming betrayal.
  • Throughout the movie version of Get Smart, Dalip is constantly mocked by his boss Siegfried for being his Dumb Muscle. Later on, Max recognizes Dalip from tapped communications that he used to listen to, and proceeds to give the big guy relationship advice about his wife. At the end of the movie, Dalip returns the favor by giving Max a tip on the radio about the bomb, then - finally sick of Siegfried - punches him out of a car.
  • In the movie version of The Addams Family, the villains force Gomez to lead them to the vault by threatening to genuinely injure his Too Kinky to Torture kidnapped wife Morticia. "Fester" has been kinda torn on which side he truly supports, and has been growing closer to the Addamses. But he doesn't come to his decision until Miss Craven reaches the breaking point and goes into a lengthy rant about how much Fester disgusts her and how she should have abandoned him when she had the chance. Amazingly, she is surprised when he betrays her seconds later.
  • Star Wars: The Emperor. His long speeches at the end of Return of the Jedi did little to win Luke over to the Dark Side. Whether or not they affected Vader as well is debatable. Sith philosophy holds that the most powerful will lead, the second most powerful will follow, and everyone else dies.
  • In Willow, Sorsha's throwing in with the heroes was as much driven by her mother's contemptuous treatment as by her interest in Madmartigan.
  • Ms. Teschmacher rescuing Superman from the kryptonite in the first film. Luthor had just fired a nuclear missile that would have killed her mother.
  • Bladebeak in Quest for Camelot was never a true villain (and mistreated when he was on their side), so he ends up switching to the heroes' side. The movie doesn't exactly make this clear, though.
  • Avatar's Trudy Chacon. "I didn't sign up for this shit!". The whole of the science team: the Company really didn't get return on investment from that support group.
  • When ex-stuntman Bear (James Gandolfini) tries to quit working for drug dealer Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) in Get Shorty, Bo threatens to frame him if he takes a fall. This prompts Bear to pull a Heel Face Turn, ultimately killing Bo by pushing him over his balcony railing (which he'd had specially rigged to give way "like they do in the movies" for Chili.)
  • James Bond's Jaws. In Moonraker, the Big Bad has James and his Damsel in Distress tied up and is explaining his master plan, which involves exterminating everyone on earth who isn't "perfect". Jaws overhears this, and is worried since he is a giant with metal teeth (and it's implied he isn't exactly firing on all eight cylinders intellectually), while his girlfriend is wearing glasses. So, while on the station, Jaws helps Bond escape a sticky situation.
  • The uncut version of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings Return of the King uses this trope, as Theoden is reaching out to Grima Wormtongue in regards to returning to Rohan, reminding him of what he originally was, and is going to forgive him. Saruman then makes the mistake of mocking Rohan, causing Grima to angrily whisper "No...!" in response, causing Saruman to knock him down, which pretty much ensured that Grima would stab him in the back. Of course, said action of stabbing Saruman in the back also resulted in his death due to their needing Saruman to supply information about Sauron's next attack.
  • Hoggle in Labyrinth. If Jareth had settled on just giving him orders, then there would have been no problem, especially since Hoggle is a dyed-in-the-wool misanthrope. However, Jareth just can't seem to stop insulting Hoggle, belittling him, physically mistreating him, and issuing dire threats (it was probably his threat to dump Hoggle into the Bog Of Eternal Stench that finally tipped the scales).


  • In The Box of Delights, Punch Clock Villain Joe is feeling uncomfortable with Abner Brown's plans, but is still trying to talk him around. Then Abner locks him in a cell and leaves him to die. When Joe is released, he rescues most of Abner's prisoners and ultimately contributes to his Karmic Death.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe
    • Mara Jade was once Emperor's Hand, sort of a secret agent doing The Emperor's bidding. After his death, she left The Empire and basically bounced from one neutral smuggling group to another as her Force Sensitivity fluctuated, hating the Rebellion but finding no one in the Empire that commanded her allegiance. Her last smuggling group was also her best, with a boss she respected and who respected her in turn. The newest and greatest Imperial leader, Grand Admiral Thrawn, was impressive, knew who and what Mara was, and requested that she get some information from her boss and bring it to him in a few days. Thrawn then put a tracking device on her, followed her back to the rendezvous, and kidnapped her boss. His lie was what drove her permanently away from the Empire, and thus reluctantly towards the New Republic.
    • There are several of these in the X Wing Series. The captain of the Imperial Interdictor Cruiser protested when some of her crew were transferred out, the protest was ignored, and she and her entire crew went over to the Rebellion. Inyri Forge, who'd become the lover of a criminal who hated the Rogues, killed him when he threatened one of them because while he'd respected her and forced others and herself to do the same, he hadn't risked himself to save her or shown concern over her welfare like the Rogues had, and she knew that he was not the kind of person she was raised to respect.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Chessman of Mars, I-Gos greatly admires courage and comes to see how Tara and Turan show such courage as he has not seen in centuries. And then his jeddak calls him "doddering fool"—a point he repeats to Turan in explaining that he wants to help him now.
  • Inverted in Animorphs during the David Trilogy: David, the team's new Sixth Ranger, is more or less forcibly recruited, kidnapped and thrust into a battle he wants no part of. He tries making the best of it for a little while, but after team leader Jake threatens to kill him for breaking into a hotel room he has enough and goes Sixth Ranger Traitor on them.
  • In Harry Potter, a couple of Voldemort's lieutenants go this way. A big deal is made of Voldemort's inability to comprehend human emotion and how he doesn't trust (or even particularly like) his underlings.
    • Snape became a spy for Dumbledore after Voldemort killed the woman Snape loved, even after Snape begged him not to.
    • Narcissa Malfoy helped Harry because she was more concerned with her son's survival than Voldemort's victory.
    • In a rare Face Heel Turn version,this is what causes Kreacher to betray Sirius to the Death Eaters.
  • Odile in The Black Swan (Mercedes Lackey's retelling of Swan Lake) turns on her father after he uses her as a People Puppet to deceive Siegfried.
  • Sword of Truth
    • The D'harans have an en-masse version of this with the new Lord Rahl. Even though it was after Darken Rahl died, there were still all sorts of ways they could have helped him, including when he briefly came back from the dead.
    • Altur'Rang has an en-masse one of these, deserting the Imperial Order to throw their lot in with Richard.
  • In the Your Name side novel Another Side: Earthbound, Toshiki speculates in-universe that this is the reason why despite currently enshrining the celestial kami Shitori no Kami, the Miyamizu Shrine also has affinity with terrestrial kami like those enshrined by Izumo Taisha: the Miyamizu might have once worshipped a rebel against the celestials until a disaster befell Itomori sometime in the past, which was interpreted as their old kami failing them and led to their changing allegiance.

Live-Action TV

  • On Lost, in the few months before Ben sent Juliet to infiltrate the main cast, he got her lover killed, dared Jack to kill her, and reneged on a promise to send her home. One wonders why he thought she'd remain faithful.
  • In the Knight Rider episode "White Bird", the secretary Stevie has been picked up as a witness for crimes attributed to her lawyer boss Cole. Rather than use his lawyer power to spring her out of jail and shut her up, he chooses to pin all his crimes onto her. This convinces her to testify against him.
  • In the second season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Arabian Affair", Solo persuades a THRUSH minion on the verge of retirement to work for U.N.C.L.E. by providing the minion with evidence that THRUSH liquidates its retirees to insure they don't reveal any secrets.
  • It appears that this trope is being set up in General Hospital with FBI Agent Leeds and her hard-ass boss Raynor, especially with all the attention she's giving Spinelli. (Of course, the mobsters are the heroes in this story...)
  • On an episode of |Mission Impossible, a mook played by Rafer Johnson shoots the main villain (Christopher George) once he realizes that the terrorist plot will result in his own death (as well as that of George, who has a terminal disease and thus doesn't care).
  • Stargate SG-1
  • The season finale of Crime Story had mobster Ray Luca on top of the world running his organization's Vegas operation. This was somewhat boring for the career criminal so he ended up sleeping with a fellow mobster's wife and then raping his sidekick's girlfriend. This last act causes the sidekick to testify against him.
  • This is how Damar eventually turns against the Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • In the 1998 Merlin series, Lord Ardent changes sides when King Vortigern tries to have his daughter sacrificed and Frik changes sides when Mab kills the woman he loves.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angelus' continual insults to Spike, as well as him taking Dru's affections, lead to Spike siding with Buffy in the season 2 finale.
  • In the second season of Boardwalk Empire Prosecutor Esther Randolph questions Dirty Cop Halloran in an attempt to get him to testify against his boss Eli and Eli's brother, Nucky. Halloran doesn't say anything, but Eli knows that Halloran met with Randolph and suspects Halloran is getting ready to be her Stool Pigeon, so Eli orders a crippling No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Halloran. Within seconds of realizing that Eli ordered the attack, Halloran calls Randolph and starts giving her all the information she needs to go after Eli.
  • In To Play the King (sequel to House of Cards), Prime Minister Francis Urquhart implicitly reneges on his promise to appoint his hatchet man Tim Stamper to his cabinet. Stamper tries to expose Urquhart as a murderer, in revenge, but Urquhart has him killed first.

Puppet Shows

  • The Muppet Movie: Doc Hopper's henchman Max, when he realizes Hopper plans to kill Kermit.

Tabletop Games


  • The Duke of Buckingham in Richard III is a classic example: he helps Richard to the throne with the understanding that he'll get land and another title in return. When he goes to Richard to remind him of this promise, Richard first ignores him, then yells at him, at which point Buckingham promptly defects to the side of the rebels. Or tries to. He's found out pretty darn quickly and killed. Lord Darby, on the other hand, gains nothing at all, is treated as a Butt Monkey servant, and defects successfully.

Video Games

  • Mother Brain's speech to Robo in the Geno Dome in Chrono Trigger. There had to be a better way to convince him to come back to the side of the robots than telling him that she would erase his memory and slaughter his new friends. The DS re-release, featuring a new translation, shows that she actually does try to convince him much more effectively (he's stymied for a few seconds), but after he kills Atropos and reveals that he can't give up on his new friends, Mother Brain states that she'll destroy him, mindwipe him, and rebuild him to help her take over the world. Yeah, that didn't work too well.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic 2, Sion's Redemption Equals Death is made easier if you point out how much of a bitch Kreia has been in her treatment of him.
  • Cyril from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Although he is a clone, he helps the heroes thwart the plans of the Big Bad, while losing his life in the process.
  • Saints Row
    • Subverted in the first game. Warren was rather displeased with how badly the situation was faring on the criminal front, and always used the opportunity to anger King with his gung ho policy of trying to kill every opposing gang member. After the Saints cracked down on several of King's bribed cops, Warren betrays King... and gets killed trying to put his policy to work.
    • Played straight in Saints Row the Third. Viola DeWynter defects to the Saints after Killbane murders her twin sister Kiki for failing him.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Belleza gets cold feet when Galcian declares his intention to dissent from the Valuan Empire, although she maintains her Subordinate Excuse. In an initial subversion, Galcian genuinely appears to care, and tries to convince her to his point of view... Before sending her off as a diplomat to deliver his intentions to the Valuan empire, and then uses his island-destroying super-weapon on the nation while she's inside. The next time they meet, The Dog Bites Back.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Xion and Roxas both Heel Face Turn. The two were treated cruelly by Big Bad Xemnas and Dragon Saix. Unfortunately the former didn't have much say in the matter and the latter kind of lost himself.
  • In Brutal Legend, after being belittled and fired by Lionwhyte for constantly losing against Eddie Riggs, the Bouncers are then recruited by Lars. Lionwhyte does attempt to make amends (promising to get them slimming t-shirts), but by then it's too late for him.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy XII, Gabranth was loyal to Vayne because his primary task was to protect Larsa, upon orders by his Excellency Emperor Gramis, his honor as Judge Magister, and an oath to colleague Judge Drace, who was killed under orders from Vayne himself. But he was fiercely loyal up to the very end, when Larsa opposed Vayne and Vayne decided that Larsa was an enemy that had to be put down. Vayne even taunted Gabranth about his role as Larsa's guard dog, which he really shouldn't have done.
    • Final Fantasy IV begins with Cecil and the Redwings under his command returning to the kingdom of Baron after having attacked Mysidia to seize its Crystal. His men are concerned about the atrocities they were ordered to commit, and Cecil speaks his mind to the King of Baron: he responds by stripping him of his command and sending him off to deliver a signet ring to Mist, home of the summoners. Once he arrives, he discovers two things: he's killed an innocent girl's mother by defeating the Eidolon that was guarding the exit to the cavern leading to the village, and the seemingly-innocuous ring he was tasked with delivering summons an army of Bomb monsters which destroy the village and murder its inhabitants. It's not surprising that the rest of the game concerns Cecil's quest for redemption, fighting a losing battle against the armies of his former kingdom to stop them from seizing the Crystals.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics it's heavily implied that Rafa turned against her master because he raped her (or at least attempted it). Her brother would also later turn against him when he learns of this.
    • Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core gives us Sephiroth's backstory, among other things. An exceptionally powerful SOLDIER, he discovered that he was the product of an experiment and that he had been lied to for his entire life. He then mistakenly believes that he is the sole survivor of an ancient race which the humans betrayed by hiding during the battle with the Big Bad of that time. Needless to say, he does not take this well.
    • His fellow high-level supersoldier Genesis, the actual Big Bad of the prequel game, who finds out he was genetically engineered around the time he starts getting Clone Degeneration, since Shinra canceled his program in favor of Project S, or something like that, and stuck the baby with a family that may or may not have been his original genetic donors. Fan opinion holds that he did not have a good home life.
    • Also to a lesser extent Angeal, the nice one who was always talking about honor, who did go rogue because of the Awful Truth but didn't really do any harm to either side after going AWOL. He was actually raised by his mother Gillian, the scientist who self-experimented with Jenova cells to create Project G. She appears to have been a pretty good mother, despite his degenerative condition being all her fault, but her choice to suicide where he'd find her body and (she probably didn't intend this part) be mistaken for her murderer was pretty shitty. And probably inspired Angeal to, in turn, make his protege Zack kill him.
  • Edgar from King's Quest... twice. In his first appearance in KQ4, he's a homely little hunchback who the wicked fairy Lolotte introduces as her son turns out later not to be the case. Rosella shows up and Lolotte's eager to kill her, but Edgar convinces Lolotte to send Rosella out on some FetchQuests instead. After Rosella obtains the items, Lolotte gleefully announces that Rosella's "reward" will be to marry Edgar and locks her up. Edgar ends up slipping a single red rose under the door...with the key attached. In his second appearance, he's Brainwashed and Crazy and turned into a troll by his aunt Malicia. He drags his heels and stalls for time as much as he can, despite the brainwashing, allowing Rosella and Valanice to start throwing wrenches into Malicia's plan.
  • In World of Warcraft, there is the "Plaguelands: Scarlet Enclave" instance—which serves as the introduction to the Death Knight class. Simply put, you are one of the Lich King's Elite Mooks, and up to a point are gleefully terrorizing and slaughtering hapless villagers and the Scarlet Crusade... then you're given a certain quest: Go kill a member of the Argent Dawn... someone who you knew in life... someone who begs you to fight against the Lich King's control... then after a few more kill-them-all quests, you're sent to meet the Argent Dawn head on. Which turns out, the Lich King was sending you and the rest of the Death Knights of Acherus on a suicide mission simply to lure out Tirion Fordring. Shortly after this, Acherus's Death Knights are formed into the Knights of the Ebon Blade, who have one goal: Kick Arthas for this betrayal. And you go off and join your respective faction.
  • Beldam in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door goes out of her way to belittle, berate, and degrade her sister Vivian at every opportunity; her taunts in the Japanese version have even resulted in a certain amount of ambiguity regarding her actual gender in said version. She's also scapegoating Vivian constantly, even on at least two occasions blaming her for losing something, when previously Beldam had decided to hold onto it herself on the basis that she couldn't trust dumb ol' Vivian not to lose it. It's a wonder it takes Vivian as long as it does to join Mario.
  • According to the backstory of Donkey Kong 64, K. Lumsy disliked K. Rool's plan to destroy the island where the Kongs live. In response, K. Rool imprisoned him. Conveniently enough, all of the Kongs' progress occurs as a direct result of K. Lumsy's intervention. Way to antagonize the guy who's about as big as the island you're trying to destroy, K. Rool.
  • Metal Gear
    • Kyle Schneider and Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar's reasons for defecting to Zanzibar Land in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake also fell into this trope. In regards to Kyle Schneider, he initially supported NATO/FOXHOUND in regards to taking down Outer Heaven, but after Outer Heaven was destroyed, he and his resistance were stabbed in the back so to speak when NATO commenced an air raid that completely and indiscriminately wiped out pretty much a lot of people, and he himself was also captured and experimented upon at NATO for an extraterrestrial special forces project. After traveling to the Mercenary War, he ended up joining Big Boss and Outer Heaven not just due to what NATO did to him, but also because unlike NATO, Big Boss actually saved his resistance as well as the rest of his soldiers. As for Madnar, after defecting to America from the Soviet Union, even abandoning his own daughter, his treatment by the American government and the Scientific Community was... not too good to put it simply. Aside from being ridiculed for his theories about Metal Gear, he also was frequently abused by his superiors and often treated with complete contempt, especially when they only wanted him to make stuff like SDI, NEDW, and brain bombs. Eventually, he had enough and joined Zanzibar Land.
    • Although not a direct result of Outer Heaven, it is implied that Gray Fox's defection to Zanzibar Land, aside from his obvious loyalty to Big Boss and his need for war, also came from a Mistreatment Induced Betrayal. While watching the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, Gray Fox (living under the paper-thin alias of Frank Hunter [his last name, Jaegar, was German for Hunter]) he ended up falling in love with Gustava Heffner, a ice-skating competitor from Czechoslovakia, and they attempted to elope together, with her attempting to defect to America. Unfortunately, America rejected her request, which also made life a living hell for her and the rest of her family as she was stripped of her competition rights and she and her family was later hunted down. Suffice to say, Gray Fox was not too happy about this at all.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has a rather twisted double subversion: The President of the United States, James Johnson, secretly worked with the Sons of Liberty in their Big Shell takeover because he was never given any real power besides creating an illusion that the People actually voted for him under their free will, and wanted to have power similar to The Patriots. However, they presumably refused to grant him this. Unfortunately, this backfires on him when Solidus ends up keeping him alive just to reconfirm his vital signs, stating that "pawns cannot become players." It is also later revealed by Ocelot that even his reasons for defecting were in fact manipulated by The Patriots, and the script even mentions this.
    • Ocelot is a slight subversion. At first, it seems as though he aids Snake in stopping Volgin because he became too disgusted with his former employer to continue working with him. However, it turns out that the real reason why he's aiding Snake is because That was his mission given to him by the CIA, his true employers. Possibly played straight in Portable Ops, when he executes the CIA Director in cold blood, if one buys his statements about regaining what the DCI stole from them about The Boss.
    • In Portable Ops, Elisa defects to Naked Snake's side when she realizes that Gene is going to launch a nuke due to negotiations failing, since she feels that nukes should never be used after she was exposed to radiation from the Khystym Disaster. Ursula, although she took longer, also ended up turning against Gene (it is also implied that the reason why she didn't turn sooner is because she didn't discover her boss's true intentions until after she barely survived her battle with Snake. Cunningham also intended to go through with the Pentagon's plan of defacing the CIA's reputation due to their casting him aside when he was forced to amputate his leg, and also because of disgust towards them for selling The Boss out.
    • Huey Emmerich initially worked for the Peace Sentinels under the belief that he could maintain true peace under deterrence and not have to launch a nuke even once. After discovering that Coldman, the leader of the Peace Sentinels, had actually planned to launch a nuke just to show the world its power, and presumably to get a step up in negotiations with the CIA (the organization he used to run as director until they eventually became so disgusted with him they ended up Kicking him Upstairs to Station Chief of Central America), he ended up going against him, and his chances of defecting from him increased substantially after Coldman pushed him down the stairs. Although not as clear, Strangelove was also implied to have undergone a similar Mistreatment Induced Betrayal. If the player managed to complete the quick-time event that cumulates in Snake swiping Strangelove's ID badge, she apparently allows Snake to keep the badge. The fact that the torture sessions afterwards do not show her with an ID badge at any point hints at Snake stealing her ID badge being canon, which means that she was actually helping Snake, the one person she hated the most due to his involvement in The Boss's death, escape and presumably take down Coldman's group.
  • In Mass Effect 2, this can arguably be used by the player to justify choosing to destroy the Collector base rather than hand it over to Cerberus after the Illusive Man talks about using it to ensure the dominance of humanity, despite all his assurances during the game that Cerberus really isn't anti-alien. Also justifies the crew of the Normandy SR-2 apparently all deciding to go with Shepard (in the Everyone Lives ending). They knew the Illusive Man and Cerberus considered them expendable in order to carry out the mission; Shepard doesn't.
  • Dusknoir and his Sableyes in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Sky.

Web Comics

  • Irregular Webcomic parodies the Star Wars scene temptation mentioned above: "My lord, if you'd just shut up..."
  • Iron Jane in Everyday Heroes turns against her team leader after she watches him kill her best friend.
  • Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater is fully and truly Chaotic Evil, yet the noble (and dense) Fighter believes him to be a true hero who's just misunderstood. This despite the fact that Black Mage constantly kills innocent civilians in the most gruesome ways possible, betrays his own team and even stabs Fighter in the head whenever he can. In fact, Fighter doesn't turn against Black Mage until the latter -- on a power trip fueled by Hell itself and power absorbed from his own clone -- inadvertently stabs White Mage through the chest with a spiky black tentacle thing while showing off. They then prepare to battle... but gets interrupted and go back to being on the same team five minutes later. The conflict has not been mentioned since, even though it has not been shown whether or not White Mage died after Red Mage teleported her away. In the resolution to the comic, it is shown that White Mage gathered a band of white-mage equivalents and managed to use their combined power to defeat Chaos.

Western Animation

  • X-Men Evolution: Rogue was never really that loyal to Mystique anyway, but even so, she does question her allegiance to her after she gets to know Scott. More importantly, Mystique stalks and attacks them just as Rogue is coming to the point where she has to make a decision. If she'd stayed out of it—and consequently prevented Rogue from reading her memories—who knows how much longer her side would have kept Rogue (previous continuity inevitability aside).
  • Transformers
    • Beast Wars
      • At the very end of the series, as the Dinobot clone remembers who he once was, Megatron's murdering of Tigerhawk and general blowing up the Earth makes it much easier to embrace his past.
      • Word of God tells us that there was an episode that focused on Rattrap trying to load a copy of Dinobot's original programming onto the clone, does so successfully, but finds that since Dinobot is under the influence of Rampage's spark, he is still a predicon. This was scrapped because Executive Meddling found it too dark for a kids show. However, the Heel Face Turn comes when Rampage is finally destroyed, thus freeing up the "good" Dinobot.
      • Earlier on, Blackarachnia is convinced to switch sides after Megatron decides a good way to deal with the Maximals is to kill Optimus Prime, thereby negating their existence. Blackarachnia originally being a Maximal, this predictably results in her defecting.
    • Beast Machines: During the arc where Optimus is out of commission, the rest of the team gets hostile at Rattrap because they think he's useless; Cheetor gives it to him worst of all, possibly because the notion that Rattrap is The Load is conflicting with his deeply-held personal conviction that no one gets left behind. Rattrap, desperate to be accepted by his team members again, makes a deal with Megatron: Megatron will give him firepower to make him useful to the Maximals again, and in return Rattrap will use that firepower to keep Megatron safe for the night. Optimus talks him around later. And the Maximals are surprised that this happened. The people who were abusing him to his face and talking about ditching him can't comprehend why he would even give the time of day to their greatest enemy.
    • In Transformers Armada, Starscream is loyal until Megs abandons him on the battlefield after his purpose in the current plot is served. This is the final insult after ages and ages of disrespect from the leader he'd once truly believed in. However, he returns to the 'cons after the Autobots want to do things in a logical manner instead of supporting 'Screamer's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and plots from within, as other Starscreams have before and will again. He still remains more of a Noble Demon than other Starscreams, and eventually Unicron gives everyone more important things to worry about.
    • Played with in Transformers Energon, since Sixshot wasn't exactly loyal to Galvatron in the first place. A good few beatings for disobeying orders in favor of attacking Optimus Prime ensured his primary target changed from Prime to his lingering master once he started a coup however, blasting him to pieces with his laser cannon Galvatron gets juiced up afterwards however, with things ending very badly for Sixshot.
    • Taken to extremes in Transformers Cybertron when all of Galvatron's minions pull a Heel Face Turn after he labels them depensible pawns.
    • Transformers Prime also plays with this a little on several occasions. It makes an effort to set up a "chicken or the egg" question of if Megatron berates and brutalizes Starscream so often because of Starscream's treacherous nature or if Starscream is so treacherous against Megatron because Prime Megatron is a horrendously abusive and dubiously sane commanding officer. Megatron's callous disregard for the lives of his own men gives Starscream a following among some of the other Decepticons, including Breakdown considering his offer to join him when Starscream's time came or Knockout being perfectly willing to finish Megatron off to become Starscream's Dragon. Ironically, in Starscream's last episode, he renounces his ambition to usurp Megatron and becomes a loyal officer right when Airachnid is trying to worm her way back into Megatron's good graces. Megatron treats Starscream as crappily as ever, end when Airachnid betrays him and leaves him to die out of spite on a mission, Starscream declares A Plague on Both Your Houses and deserts, resolving to be loyal only to himself.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Azula learns the hard way that Machiavelli Was Wrong when her "best friends" betray her.
    • Zuko doesn't exactly pull this on Ozai; if Ozai had given him even a modicum of positive reinforcement he probably would never have turned, but when he actually does it Ozai is treating him okay (at least, for Ozai) and it's just a matter of principle. (That and knowing that Azula is going to use him as a scapegoat any time now.)
  • Jinx in Teen Titans might not have been so quick to hook up with charming speedster Kid Flash had Madame Rouge not treated her like crap on a near-constant basis. It probably helped that her teammates were extremely incompetent. It also helps that The Flash is just that kind of guy. In the comics, he and his Rogues Gallery have a strange respect for each other. However this is probably the stronger motivator. We see in Lightspeed that what Jinx wants is respect. She'll settle for fear, but she straight up says "At least with the Brotherhood of Evil, I can be somebody. I'll get respect." And when she's treated like dirt, she doesn't take it sitting down. Hero, villain, nobody messes with her. And that's where Jinx breaks with her team and considers what Kid Flash had been saying to her.
  • Campion in the Watership Down TV series. After being saved by Hazel, he reluctantly decides he likes the Watership rabbits. This causes him a lot of personal conflict, as he doesn't want to be disloyal to his cheif. He becomes something of a Double Agent for the Watership rabbits, but still ends up Taking the Bullet for his Cheif, Woundwart in the end. Don't worry, he gets better.
  • In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series Grand Finale, "Leroy and Stitch", Hämsterviel is dumb enough to tell Gantu that he'll be fired as soon as he's finished locking up Lilo and Reuben. Naturally, Gantu decides that he's got nothing to lose, and releases them.
  • In ReBoot Hack and Slash switch sides after Megabyte's actions become too evil for them and Bob is no longer around to stop them from finishing evil acts. Megabyte doesn't care about this at all, even sending them to the front lines simply to get rid of them. Switching sides was inevitable for them at this point.
  • Frisky Dingo
    • Killface's constant abuse of his personal assistant Valerie causes her to turn against him, at which point she makes several failed attempts to kill him.
    • Played with between Killface and Phil, who start out with a genial relationship. Phil sues Killface after he learns that the Annihilatrix has given him cancer, and that Killface doesn't have insurance. Killface responds by trying to poison him.
    • Killface also views Val's quest for revenge as a betrayal. Considering the circumstances of her "employment", though...
  • Tohru on Jackie Chan Adventures. At the end of the first season, Tohru is severely injured after he is forced by his boss, Valmont, to fight the newly-repowered demon Shendu. Later, he identifies Shendu for the Chans, who had previously been unknown to them. When Section 13's Captain Black asks why he wants to help them, he answers that he heard Section 13 served donuts on Tuesdays. Starting in the second season, Tohru also becomes Uncle's apprentice.
  • In Wakfu, Rubilax cements his Heel Face Turn after his fellow Shushus, and especially their lord Rushu, insult him one time too many.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Gantu is regularly abused by his boss Dr. Hamsterviel. When Experiment 625 (aka Reuben) decides to abandon the evil hamster, he questions if Gantu should remain at the mad scientist’s side when he himself decided not to, since Hamsterviel continued to treat him the same way after he busted him out of prison. Sure enough, Gantu decides that he and Reuben are friends, and helps him defeat Hamsterviel. And unfortunately for the hamster, Gantu decides that the mad scientist should stay in prison.

Real Life

  • Japanese warrior Akechi Mitsuhide has been traditionally depicted as an honorable samurai, albeit a usual victim of his Bad Boss Oda Nobunaga's not-so-pleasant demeanor. Apparently, things came to a head when Mitsuhide's mother was involved in a tight hostage situation which ended with her getting killed, inadvertently caused by Nobunaga's tactics. This apparently paved the way for him turning on Nobunaga at the Incident on Honnoji, leading to the latter's death. Of course, all of these narratives depend on what history book are you reading.
  • If you've read history books, they always portray Benedict Arnold as a Jerkass who betrayed his colony after it rebelled seemingly for the hell of it. But it just so happens that for a long time, colonial command seemed to have kicking Arnold in the guts as a pleasant hobby. He was not acknowledged for his role in any early American successes in the war, including Saratoga, which was the battle that convinced France to enter the war on behalf of the Americans and was won almost entirely by Arnold; at the time this was the highest insult to an officer. It came to a head when he was military governor of Philadelphia, he was forced out on trumped-up charges of corruption and officially reprimanded for it. What he didn't know and was not informed of is that, if General Washington had not done so, Pennsylvania would have withdrawn their support from the Continental Army. This caused him to feel unappreciated and offer to betray the Americans in return for a hefty sum of money and a generalship in the British army. In return, he offered them West Point (which at the time was named Fort Arnold, for him). Days afterward, Washington offered him command of approximately half the Continental Army. He refused, citing a leg injury he received at Saratoga, and asked for West Point instead. His plan would have succeeded, except his contact in the British Army was captured the night Arnold gave him the information (on paper) about the fort that the British would have used to take it.