Noble Demon

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"A demon can get into real trouble, doing the right thing."

A villainous character who does good in spite of himself. The Noble Demon doesn't care that he has a bad image—he actively cultivates and embraces it. He'll practice his evil laugh and iron his cape so that it billows just right when he makes his entrance. However, every so often a situation presents itself and he's just not willing to go the extra mile necessary to be completely evil. He'll topple your castle, but he'll do it right after everyone has cleared out first. He'll also be obsessed with explaining this behavior so people won't think that he's gone soft. Killing enemies or servants who have failed but are loyal is "a waste of resources" and his inevitable newfound friends are "tactically advantageous allies." Their goals are evil but their means, not so much.

A lot of this behavior is sometimes explained as the result of a complex they acquired when they felt weak and helpless, and all they really need is to be loved. A villainous Noble Demon isn't nice, but being noble and powerful seems to imply they are above petty and malicious acts, or at least uninterested in them.

A Noble Demon who's a Proud Warrior Race Guy often comments that his enemies are (or have become) petty and cowardly and stain the name of their species.

Sometimes a fanciful version of the Delinquent Hero. Commonly experiences Sympathy for the Devil from the heroes. If Eviler Than Thou comes up, the Noble Demon will likely be on the less evil end. May be the "grayer" character in A Lighter Shade of Grey.

Compare the more mundane versions: Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Jerkass Facade.

If a Noble Demon is an Anti-Hero then they are a "Type IV" or a "Type V" on the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes, and if they are an Anti-Villain then they are a "Type I" or a "Type IV" in the Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains.

Whether Anti-Villain or Anti-Hero beneath the facade, expect a Noble Demon's motives to include getting plenty of Villain Cred.

See also Ambiguously Evil. Contrast Faux Affably Evil, whose kind acts only serve to benefit him as well as Card-Carrying Villain who does not deny he's evil and is willing to do all things evil. Villains lacking this trait with be either Exclusively Evil, Combat Pragmatist at best or Complete Monster at their worst. Compare and contrast Nominal Hero, a character who does heroic deeds for all the wrong reasons.

Examples of Noble Demons are listed on these subpages: