The villain approaches one of the good guys, often having captured them first. The good guy is then offered a deal: if he will help the villain by betraying his comrades, he will be amply rewarded with money, a high-ranking position in the villain's organization, or something else that would be attractive. He accepts the bargain, and keeps his end of it.
Of course, the villain has no intention of honoring his own part of the bargain. One reason is that no Card-Carrying Villain would want to share anything with a stooge who has outlived his usefulness. Another reason is that smart villains never trust a traitor, no matter which side he's working for—they can never be sure that their double agent won't turn triple agent.
So, the traitor gets the "reward" of being put to death or being reduced to menial slavery. Not such a pleasant outcome for him, is that? Frequently this is accompanied by a speech of withering contempt for treachery, which demonstrates that the villain is an honorable enemy or at least a Worthy Opponent to some degree. In a variation, the hero refuses to turn, and is rewarded and praised for his loyalty.
Sometimes it happens in reverse, where the good guys are approached with an offer by a would-be Turncoat from the enemy, and invoke this trope to show their scorn for treachery — before or without even using him or his information. This can be a prime source of Values Dissonance with works created or set in feudally organized cultures, where loyalty placed much, much higher in the hierarchy of virtues than in modern western society. In these cases, what seems to the reader like a straight Mook Face Turn will instead be met with an ostensibly deserved horrible fate.
One frequent variation has the villain show the good guy that he has his wife, and offers to release her from his prison in exchange for his cooperation. When it comes time to reward the traitor, the villain slyly gives him False Reassurance that she has indeed been "released", and that now it is time for him to join her.
In another variation, the villain (or in very old works, the hero, but this isn't done any more) is besieging a city or fortress. Someone leaves a side door (a sewer gate is a popular choice) open, and the bad guys storm in. But when the turncoat comes to the villain for his reward, he's promptly killed because that's what any traitor deserves. Can either mark the villain as a Complete Monster, or show that Even Evil Has Standards, depending on how it's played.
The one persistent exception to this trope if the reason for being a traitor was to indulge in their malicious urges that would be allowed under the new regime. While Greed, pragmatism, or cowardice won't save you from this trope, for some reason the Evil Overlord tends to trust people who betray their comrades out of hatred or cynicism.
Anime and Manga
- Naruto, Episode #187: When the Lord of the Land of Vegetables is betrayed by his people, the collaborators are dispatched by the band of bandits they betrayed their feudal lord to.
- In the Hellsing manga, the captain of a aircraft carrier, the HMS Invincible, turns it over to Millennium (turning the rest of the crew into ghouls in the process) in exchange for becoming a vampire. Rip Van Winkle arrives, congratulates him, informs him that his new orders are to "provide nutrients for the fish" and blows him away with her gun.
- When this happens in OVA 4, she makes sure to point out that he "betrayed his True Companions" just for his own benefit.
- In To LOVE-Ru, during Trouble Quest, almost all the characters are trapped in a VR game that seems to have Magical Girl Kyoko from Lala's favorite Show Within a Show as the Big Bad. Run, The Queen and her posse all agree to stop the progress of Rito and Lala's group in exchange for being sent home. Run ends up being chased by the pervert Principal (again) and Aya's would-be spell renders her own team topless. Their betrayal must have angered Yami, for she doesn't even punish Rito for gawking at them when this happens. In the end, not being with the main group has them all forgotten about when Kyoko is revealed as Lala's even more irresponsible sisters, testing Lala's circle of Earth friends. As a result, they are transported to the Amazon, where wackiness ensues.
- During Vinland Saga, half of Askeladd's men turn traitor during a Stern Chase to escape Thorkell, and capture Askeladd. When Thorkell finally catch up to the waiting (and surrendering) traitors, he 'rewards' them by letting them pick up their own weapons again so they can die honourably and go to Valhalla when his men kill them. He leaves Askeladd alive.
- The anime OVA of Ai no Kusabi has this combined with You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Iason has successfully used former Bison gang member Kirie to sell out and destroy the gang. When Kirie shows up to collect his reward money, he's instead taken away, Brainwashed and turned into an unthinking and obedient Pet.
- In the Digimon movie X-Evolution, after WarGreymon X gathers a group of Digimon in an attempt to band them together for survival against the Knight Templar Royal Knights, Andromon reveals that he's already came into contact with them. When Omegamon arrives, he's one of those gunned down by the Jogressed Ultimate.
- In DC's Villains United #6, Cheshire, having leaked the location of the Secret Six's hideout to a Secret Society of Super-Villains death squad, attempts to leave the hideout to join them:
Cheshire: I'm coming out! I am unarmed! I'm one of you! I'm one of you! I am un-- (shot by Deathstroke)
- In Flash Gordon, after rewarding Sonja's treachery as promised, by marrying her and making her empress, Ming the Merciless immediately has her executed.
- Happens in the Squadron Supreme limited series, when The Mink fatally stabs Foxfire after she betrays Nighthawk's rebels.
- In the UK Sonic the Comic, after selling out the entire Chaotix Crew to the Metallix Empire, Nack the Weasel is told he'll "Get what he deserves". And he does, when the Metallix blast him, nearly killing him. Nack was actually Genre Savvy enough to expect this, and bring a Disruptor, but it didn't do him much good.
- In Terry and the Pirates, Klang does this to a defector from the Dragon Lady's forces. After the defector has given Klang the information he desired, he is rewarded with a bayonet through the chest.
- Appears in Give Me Liberty. President Nissen's Cabinet members ministers kill him, Gaius Julius Caesar style, then are promptly killed when their ringmaster blows up the White House.
- In the Jack Chick tract The Poor Revolutionist, the main characters are executed after the rebellion succeeds, with the leader reasoning that they will eventually betray him.
- In Les Legendaires: Origines, Prince Halan's bodyguard Chakra agrees to provide Darkhell's lieutnant Raptor with a map showing him the route Halan's fiancé Princess Jadina is gonna use, hoping to make disappear Jadina so she can have Halan instead of her. Unfortunately for her, as soon as she gives the map to him, Raptor mercyless kills her with his magic blade.
- Elfes got people who struck a deal with Lah'saa. After all, she's a body-snatching necromancer who immediately upon being released from her grave began to collect an army of ghouls to which she either feeds or recruits entire towns that happen to be on her way. Somehow this sounds as "a trustworthy partner"? One of them backstabbed an elf who could save his fortress. He got killed on the next meeting. Another wanted to ally with her to spare his city, he didn't even make it to her… and while he was away, one of his political opponents convinced the city to evacuate immediately. Lah'saa kept around the mercenaries for a while, though made it clear they are going to "enlist" as ghouls if they annoy her too much.
Films -- Live Action
- In Inglourious Basterds, the Allies accept Hans Landa's offer to betray Hitler in return for protection after the war. Aldo Raine is furious that the Allies uphold their end of the bargain, but manages to get one last shot at Landa by carving a Swastika into his forehead, marking him for life as a Nazi.
- In the original Battlestar Galactica pilot movie, the Cylons beheaded Baltar after he betrayed his fellow humans.
- In 1999's The Mummy, Beni betrays his teammates by joining Imhotep and later gets eaten by killer scarabs after the latter's demise, which Evelyn lampshades earlier in the film.
- Serenity. Mr. Universe reluctantly cooperates with the Operative by luring the Serenity into an Alliance trap. Afterwards he turns to the Operative and begins an angry rant, only for the Operative to run Mr Universe through on his sword rather than allow any chance of the truth coming out. Bonus points because the traitor was demanding his thirty pieces of silver. He knew that one way or another, he didn't have much to look forward to after what he'd done.
- In Ran two retainers help defeat their master, Hidetora. Hidetora's son rewards them as they agreed, however he then explains that he can't very well have retainers who obviously disregard loyalty to their master, and kicks them out. Later on they wander too close to one of Hidetora's loyal followers and get chased down and killed.
- Superman II. Lex Luthor betrays the human race by allying with the Kryptonian super villains and leading them to Lois Lane so they can find Superman. After he does this General Zod orders Non to murder him, and he's only saved by the arrival of Superman.
- Roach from Demon Knight sells out his friends to the demon leader and his horde, in exchange for being spared. Not surprisingly, the head demon informs him that he lied and promptly has his horde devour him.
- In the Hammer Fu Manchu movie series, Fu rewards just about everyone who helps him by smiling, thanking them, then having them dragged away to be imprisoned or executed. One wonders how he manages to get anyone to help him at all by the time the last movie in the series rolls around.
- In Sucker Punch, Blondie tells Blue about the girls' plan to escape, but only because she didn't want her friends to die. Blue praises her, at first, then replies that he doesn't like snitches. She's quickly dispatched with a bullet to the head.
- Snatch: Brick Top 'disposes' of someone who's apparently betrayed him in some manner or other (we're never explained what). He then has the man's lieutenant, who gave him the tip, 'disposed' in the same manner. Apparently he's got "no time for grasses".
- Castor and Gem in Tron: Legacy, as well as outliving their usefulness. Clu also kills Jarvis after the latter is caught saying "Long Live The Users" when Sam shows up.
- This happens to Nash, Cobb's original architect in Inception, who betrayed Cobb and sold him out to Saito. Saito originally offers Cobb a gun to deal with it personally, but Cobb isn't willing to kill. Saito then leaves him to the mercy of Cobol Engineering, who would inevitably hunt him down and kill him when they catch him.
- In Sword Of Sherwood Forest, the Sheriff makes this offer to one of Robin Hood's men; promising him a free pardon. After he gets the informtion, the Sheriff has him shot and then orders a pardon drawn up for him.
- In the film Immortals, Lysander does a Face Heel Turn since he fears Hyperion's forces cannot be stopped. Hyperion agrees to take him in, but orders his guards to physically scar his face as well as neuter him via giant mallet, since he feels Lysander shouldn't get preferential treatment for switching sides the way he did, nor does he want the traitor to spread his seed by having kids.
- Averted in Tom Clancy novels, the American and Soviet characters make it clear that defectors must be rewarded and protected in order to encourage other defectors. It is part of the unwritten rules of espionage. Furthermore, assassination of a defector is a violation of the unwritten rules and even kidnapping a defector can be punished with death for the kidnapper. The espionage game is supposed to be civilized. The rules are more gray/grey when applied to proxy wars.
- Star Wars Force Commander: After proving their loyalty in combat, Tyr Taskeen allows several imperials to join the Rebellion as trusted officers. This is common in the Star Wars universe; defectors are only executed if discovered before they actually defect. Their new superiors trust them after a heroic action or the revealing of top-secret information. 
- In JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion, Sauron offers to release the captive Eilinel (Actually, he says he would reunite him with her) if Gorlim will reveal the whereabouts of Barahir and his men. Once Sauron obtains the information, he informs Gorlim that Eilinel is dead and he had only seen a phantom, and executes him.
- In Dune, Wellington Yueh betrays the House Atreides for the sake of freeing Wanna from Harkonnen tortures. Yueh is an interesting case in that he walks into it with his eyes mostly open—he strongly suspects that Wanna has been Released to Elsewhere and is betraying everyone just to get close enough to the Baron to kill him in retaliation. He knows he'll only be killed for his troubles once he's outlived his usefulness, and he does everything in his power to help House Atreides survive his betrayal. Sadly for him, subsequent history remembers him as worse than Judas and for thousands of years his name serves as a byword for unconscionable treachery.
"You think... you have defeated me? You think I did not know... what I bought... for my Wanna?"
- Combined with False Reassurance in The Three Musketeers. One treacherous character gets rewarded for aiding Cardinal Richelieu and has the bad judgment to "remind the Cardinal he is still alive" with what is presumably a letter begging for money. The Cardinal's response is that he will "take care of him for the rest of his life". The reader is informed a page later that the guy disappeared one day and is assumed to have spent the rest of his life "secure" in a castle with all of his meals provided. The character appears again, much transformed, in the sequel. Exactly what he went through is not clear, although it's unlikely Richelieu really cared what happened to him.
- In the Susan Cooper novel The Dark Is Rising, Merriman Lyon's servant Hawkin betrays him and goes over to the Dark. At the end of the novel, the Dark callously throws him down from a great height, severely injuring him.
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms plays this trope straight and averts it in some instances: Good civil servants and military officers were in need, after all. Several officers that would become practically synonymous with one of the Three Kingdoms started out fighting that kingdom (Zhange He, Zhang Liao, Taishi Ci, Gan Ning, Ma Chao, and Huang Zhong to name a few) and none were thought any less honourable for having switched sides. They however, usually changed allegiance after their lord was dead or surrendered and most of them went over openly. Most backstabbers and people who actively betray their lords feel the wrath of this trope:
- When Lu Bu begged for his life, Liu Bei reminded Cao Cao that Lu Bu had already betrayed three people at that point (making him almost an aversion: his first three treasons were heavily rewarded), two of whom he had killed, and the third being Liu Bei himself. In the novel they contrast this with Zhang Liao, who mocked Cao Cao and was prepared to die, until Guan Yu and Liu Bei begged Cao Cao to spare him. Since he was an honorable warrior, Cao Cao agreed and Zhang Liao became one of his greatest generals.
- Miao Ze betrayed a plot to assassinate Cao Cao in order to marry a concubine of one of the conspirators. When Cao Cao learned his motivation, he had Miao and the woman executed.
Miao Ze: I desire no reward, only Chunxiang for a wife.
- Yang Song was an officer of Zhang Lu that received several bribes from multiple sides. When his lord surrendered to Wei, Zhang Lu and most of Zhang's surviving officers and officials were given positions in Cao Cao's administration. Yang Song was passed over, and when he went to Cao to complain, Cao had him executed.
- Wei Yan was also one of the most notorious traitors in the novel (having betrayed Liu Zong, and then Han Xuan in attempts to go over to Liu Bei's side), but he both fits the trope and subverts it, depending on who he is serving at the time. Liu Bei tends to deliberately overlook Wei Yan's faults after Wei Yan joined him and, as a result, Wei Yan remains loyal to him; Zhuge Liang has a vehement dislike of Wei Yan ever since he joined, however, and after Zhuge Liang's death, Wei Yan plays true to form and attempts rebellion. Zhuge Liang, who has foreseen Wei Yan would do so, promptly plots with Ma Dai to incite Wei Yan to rebelling and then has Wei Yan killed for it.
- In Terry Pratchett's Interesting Times, The Mole reminds Lord Hong of his promise to "neither write nor speak" orders for his execution. Lord Hong just smiles and tells the guards to "take him away"... while holding a headless origami man.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, as soon as Chanda reveals himself as The Mole and captures the governor and the inquistor for de Valtos, deValtos hands him over to be tortured before the other prisoners.
- In Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton's The Elvenbane, a wizard decides that the rebellion against the elven overlords is doomed to failure and attempts to buy his survival by offering his services and his knowledge of the rebels' secrets to an elvenlord. The elvenlord smiles encouragingly, listens to him carefully, and then tortures him to be sure he wasn't lying and finally reduces the man to ashes when he's done.
- Averted quite notably in Victory of Eagles: Napoleon's offer in the last book of sanctuary for Laurence and Temeraire ("I will not insult you with offers of treasure"), or barring that free passage to China, in return for the plague cure was at least in part a coldly logical tactic for keeping the bloodline of the Chinese Celestial breed away from the British. However, during increasingly violent foraging raids from occupied London, despite the fact that both Laurence and Temeraire were both serving the British once more, Laurence's family estate remained untouched apparently out of nothing more than sheer gratitude.
- Done with a twist, in This Rough Magic by Mercedes Lackey Eric Flint and Dave Freer. The Hungarians threaten a man's son in order to get him to give the location of some heroes. The man does this and finds his son has been killed anyway, but then the heroes help the man to escape with his life and tell him to go tell everyone about this, which creates bad publicity for the Hungarians and helps the heroes defeat them in the end.
- In Barrayar, Cordelia walked in on a conference where two of Vordarian's men were trying to sell him out. This was no longer possible, of course, because she had Vordarian's severed head in the shopping bag she was carrying, but she advised them to throw themselves unconditionally on Lord Vorkosigan's mercy, adding, "He may still have some." Although she didn't speak the words, "I certainly don't," everyone in the room heard them.
- Played completely straight in The Vor Game.
- In CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund betrays the other children by attempting to lead them to the White Witch's home. Failing at this, he returns to her castle alone, expecting to be made a prince for bringing the party to Narnia. Fortunately, Aslan's party arrives in time to bail him out when the White Witch finally decides to kill him.
- Littlefinger does this in A Song of Ice and Fire, having the man who helped sneak Sansa out shot as soon as his job was done.
- The Bible:
- King David was fighting a civil war against King Saul's successor, Ish-Bosheth, and two opportunistic officers assassinated the enemy king and presented his head to David in anticipation of a reward. He executed the traitors, cut off their hands and feet, and hung their corpses up by the pool at Hebron as a warning to others. As for Ish-Bosheth, David ordered him buried with full honors. This is also in keeping with how he treated an Amalekite who came bringing his predecessor Saul's crown and armband, claiming to have done a mercy-killing on Saul himself. Although David presumably found out later (after executing him) that the man was lying, he cited his decision concerning this other man to Ish-Bosheth's murderers, pointing out that what they'd done was far worse.
- The Bible also has two aversions. The first one: Balaam showed his loyalty to Yahweh even though his life was at risk and blessed the Israelites rather than cursing them as God told him to. He was killed for trying to have it both ways. He wouldn't betray God by pronouncing a curse where a blessing was required, but he still wanted the reward that the Midianites were offering to him. So he taught them how they could turn the Israelites away from the commandments of God and bring His curse upon themselves, making him a pretty straight example of this trope.
- Second one: The prostitute Rahab gave aid and comfort to two Israelite spies, allowing them to bring back information that allowed them to annihilate Jericho. Joshua spared her, and eventually married her. She became one of the ancestors of Christ!
- In Artemis Fowl, Mulch attempts to sweet talk some goblins by claiming he doesn't approve of the dwarf/goblin tunnel wars and is actually a goblin sympathiser. In response, the goblins attempt to kill him; the only thing they hate more than a dwarf is a traitor to his own kind, and Mulch ticks both boxes.
- In the Iliad, Dolon was captured by Odysseus and Diomedes and interrogated. To save his life, he quickly tells everything he knows. Then Diomedes kills him for speaking too easily.
- In Michael Flynn's The January Dancer, Sweeney points out Hugh to an assasin and is promptly killed.
- In Redwall, Slagar adds a defecting shrew to his chain gang of slaves after the shrew volunteers useful information.
- Subverted in Belisarius Series. The new Emperor of Malwa agrees that it is smartest to kill Narses who changes sides like a pinball. But Narses also saved the Emperor's family with his schemes and starting a reign with ingratitude might be bad luck. So instead he is appointed ambassador to China far away, given enough money to play with and no order except not to return.
Live Action TV
- Happens to Jayne in the Firefly episode "Ariel" when he tries to turn Simon and River in to the Feds: the Feds, led by Agent McGinnis, arrest all three of them because McGinnis wants to keep the reward money for himself. The result is that Simon and River don't realize that they were betrayed by Jayne, while Jayne is forced back to his original side. When the three of them are taken to a holding facility Jayne proceeds to take out the Feds guarding them and free them both. When Mal finds out what Jayne did he's ready to have him Thrown Out the Airlock.
- In Heart of Gold, one of the female prostitutes at the brothel opts to side with the scumbag misogynist villain Rance Burgess. Her reward is to be subjected to a speech on how women are subservient to men, before being forced to blow him in front of a crowd of people. At the end of the episode, she is kicked out of the brothel and forced to go back to town with Burgess's men.
- The Federation on Blakes Seven has never not done this, which raises the question of why anyone continues to betray the rebels to them (or, later, to Servalan acting alone). Sure shows how evil the bad guys are, though. The traitors are killed, except in one case where Servalan just took his only spaceship and marooned him. Sometimes the traitors shout things like "I gave you Avalon [a rebel]! I gave you Avalon!" or "I served you well!!"
- Doctor Who: Newly elected PM |Harold Saxon begins his first cabinet meeting by calling his ministers traitors for abandoning their parties to support him once they saw the votes swinging his way. He ends it by gassing them to death.
- Done in "The Sontaran Experiment", when Vural betrays his party to Styre to save himself from experimentation. Styre goes back on his end because he doesn't want to deal with "a traitor to his kind." However, Vural's death is a Heroic Sacrifice, when he saves the Doctor's life.
- In "Daleks in Manhattan", Mr. Diagoras helps the Cult of Skaro gather test subjects and build the equipment needed for their "Final Experiment". The Daleks reward him by using him to make the first of their Dalek-Human hybrids. Of course, considering that they had previously complimented Diagoras by telling him that "[he] think[s] like a Dalek", it's possible they actually saw this as a reward.
- This tends to be how the Daleks act often, not that it isn't quite predictable since they view all non-Dalek life as pests to be exterminated. A traitor can buy themselves some time, but the Daleks will get rid of them sooner or later.
- In The Runaway Bride Donna's fiance Lance is secretly working with the Racnoss Empress, and has been manipulating Donna so the Empress can use her to revive her sleeping children. As soon as the children are ready to awaken, the Empress feeds Lance to them; apparently she doesn't approve of males who mistreat their mates.
- Completely averted in "The Seeds of Doom." When dissatisfied World Ecology Bureau pencil pusher Richard Dunbar puts Eccentric Millionaire Harrison Chase on to the existence of the Krynoid pod so Chase can add it to his private collection, he wants a lot of money in exchange for the information. It seems like he'll instead kill Dunbar when he comes to collect his money later, but Chase actually pays him off as he'd promised and lets him go unharmed.
- Lampshaded in Bugs, with it not being uncommon for the good guys to explicitly point out to people being blackmailed by bad guys (typically in exchange for a hostage release) that villains never carry through with their end of the bargain, and will either kill them anyway after they're done, or continue to ask for things. Also played straight, where, after asking his partner to kill his daughter, John-Daniel shoots his partner on account of "How could I trust a man who'd kill his own daughter?" and spends the rest of the season working with the daughter.
- An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation played with this. Riker was made second in command of a Klingon ship as part of a cultural exchange program, and was made to swear a loyalty oath to the Klingon captain. Events happen that resulted in the Klingon captain declaring that the Enterprise attacked them, and so they were going to attack the Enterprise. The Klingon captain then demanded that Riker give him the access codes to the Enterprise, which Riker refused to do, due to his pre-existing oaths to Starfleet, but he was still willing to participate in the attack as part of the captain's orders (well, not really). The Klingon captain proceeded to tell him that if he had betrayed his original Starfleet oaths, he'd have had Riker executed as a traitor.
- Subverted in Lost: in the second season finale, Michael sells out his fellow lostaways to Ben in exchange for his son and a boat off the island. The boat pulls away, Ben's eyes follow it ominously, and he even mutters "Bon voyage"... and nothing happens. Well, not right away...
- Rygel sells out the rest of the Farscape cast in the first-season finale, but quickly changes his tune when Crais tells him in no uncertain terms what's in store: Scorpius will use Rygel to catch Crichton, but then he'll have him killed slowly "to show everyone what he thinks of traitors". Luckily for the little toad, Crais has a complex double-betrayal of his own in mind, and one side effect is Rygel's safe return to Moya.
- In Stargate SG-1, any Jaffa who betrays his Goa'uld master is branded as a Shol'va (literally, "traitor") by all other Goa'uld, despite their feudal nature. This is largely because the Goa'uld rely heavily on their Jaffa to maintain control of their empires; any Jaffa that willingly betrays their master is a threat to the balance of power. Especially given that it could undermine the Goa'uld claim to being gods.
- In Survivor, sometimes people who flip and join other alliances end up voted out first when their target(s) are gone. There are several reasons for this: One that you would probably not want someone who you know would flip around, two because they often end up the third wheel in an alliance and the third wheel often goes out.
- Shambo, did you really think Russell was going to take you to the finals, knowing the jury would be full of Galu sympathizers, and that he had two other people he thought were more worthless?
- In Emmerdale Sadie King blackmails business rival Zoe Tate into selling her property over to her. This is achieved by Sadie, knowing that Zoe is a lesbian, getting Effie Harrison, who was employed by Zoe as a nanny, to firstly pretend that she has romantic feelings for Zoe and secondly to persuade Zoe to go on the run with her. Unfortunately for Zoe, who was in a vulnerable state and worried about an upcoming court case, she falls for it and when she goes to meet Effie she finds Sadie there instead. After this is done, Effie asks Sadie for the payment that she promised, and Sadie throws some loose change on the floor calling it "30 pieces of silver" and telling Effie that "Zoe is more of a woman than you'll ever be", leaving Effie to claw for the coins in the dirt.
- While the convicts of the Penal Legions of the Imperium in Warhammer 40,000's crimes vary from more standard crimes such as murder to heresy and apostasy, the Imperium clearly sees them as traitors to the Emperor—fit only as cannon fodder. Subverted on some occasions since it is possible for Legionnaires to be pardoned for performing a particularly meritorious act.
- In the Planescape verse, the githzerai race, which is much devoted to examples in history and folklore, uses the story of Vilquar to describe the foolishness of betrayal in general. Once, when the Mind Flayers were still holding their race in slavery, Vilquar tried to get special treatment by selling out the rebellion. They tricked him into thinking it had disbanded, and when he went to claim his reward, Vilquar's master ate his brain.
- This happens to Parolles in All's Well That Ends Well—although his captors were actually his comrades playing a trick on him.
- In the stage version of Bugsy Malone, Shady gives Fat Sam information that will lead his men into a trap. He then colects his money from Dandy Dan, only to be killed (splurged) while walking away. Dandy Dan takes back his money, commenting he can't stand traitors.
- Star Wars Force Commander: After proving their loyalty in combat, Tyr Taskeen allows several imperials to join the Rebellion as trusted officers. This is common in the Star Wars universe; defectors are only executed if discovered before they actually defect. Their new superiors trust them after a heroic action or the revealing of top-secret information. 
- In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, during the Imperial Guard stronghold assault, the Guard's Fifth Company can be turned rogue and allied to the attackers' faction by killing their Commissar. After the battle, if you were playing as the Space Marines, you see the Marines sending the survivors back to Segmentum Command, with a request to their superiors to not punish the Guardsmen because they followed their orders and fought with honor... except Fifth Company, who the Marines summarily execute for treason. Ironic, isn't it?
- Also occurs in vanilla Dawn of War's campaign. Said traitor (Isiador) steals the MacGuffin from right under the other space marines' noses, only to have the Big Bad immediately take the item for himself and leave the traitor and his marines to guard the rear. Meaning he has to face the very angry Force Commander/former best friend he had just betrayed. Needless to say, he doesn't last long.
- The Operation Flashpoint expansion, Resistance, has an alternate ending (though it occurs after the 3rd mission) where you betray the Resistance to the Russians. Immediately afterwards, you and the remaining Resistance members who have been captured are taken to the General, who orders the prisoners execution. As they are being lined up, a officer asks about your character—he orders that you be executed as well, because you are seen as 100% untrustworthy.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the half-cowardly, half-Apathetic Citizens of a port town inform the Daein soldiers about which boat Ike and his company took. When they ask for their reward, they are told that it was their country's own princess in that company that they just sold out. Just as the realization and guilt really begin to sink in, the captain of the soldiers has the "dastards" taken away to be worked to the bone, a "fitting reward" for people who would sell out their own princess.
- In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince regrets that his father did not give the Vizier this treatment, as he betrays them almost immediately after betraying his former liege and joining them.
- There's an example in Fallout 3 that crosses over with You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. You're captured and interrogated by the Big Bad. He demands the code to the purifier. If you actually give it to him, he shoots you. Game over.
- Also occurs in New Vegas, though not with you. Caesar's Legion was offered a deal by the town of Nipton: in exchange for a sum of caps, the mayor would round up NCR troops and Powder Gangers inside the town and trap them. The Legion captures everyone - including those who were helping - and plays a game with them. It helps that Nipton was a Wretched Hive and the mayor was an unscrupulous jerk, though most people consider this their Moral Event Horizon, given the brutality of the Legion.
- In Dragon Quest I, when you confront the Big Bad at the end, he offers to let you rule by his side. Say yes and it's Game Over.
- Subverted in Makai Toushi SaGa. Byak-Ko decides to kill Mireille after she had betratyed her sister and the the resistance, but Jeanne took the bullet.
- At one point in the PC game Spycraft: The Great Game, the villains approach you with the offer of joining their organization. If you accept you're tasked with assassinating the President of the United States. Regardless of whether or not you do it you're then killed by another assassin as payback for arresting his girlfriend earlier.
- The long-forgotten arcade fighting game Blood Storm kicks off with the High Emperor getting assassinated, and all eight fighters are pointing fingers at each other. If Tempest wins, she accidentally lets slip that she released the Big Bad and ordered her father's execution. She is promptly overrun by an angry mob and beheaded.
- In Adventure Quest Worlds, if you make the choice to betray and kill Artix during the finale of the Doomwood saga, Vordred "rewards" you by making you the very first of his new undead minions as he unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse upon Lore.
- Implied in Grand Theft Auto IV, Playboy X and Dwayne are longtime friends. When Dwayne returns from prison a sullen man, eventually the two butt heads to the point where Niko needs to kill one to continue the plot. If the player kills Dwayne, Playboy calls him up and wires a large amount of money, but tells him that he has to try to kill Niko if they ever see each other again (They don't).
- In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, if you choose to betray the Kindred and side with the Kuei-Jin, Ming-Xiao will reward you by chaining you to the Ankaran Sarcophagus and throwing it into the ocean.
- In the Dark Brotherhood questline of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Commander Maro launches an attack on the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary after Astrid arranges for you (the killer of his son) to be captured by him. The fact that she was the one who ordered the kill is definitely a factor in this.
- Wizard101 has a weird version of this trope when the player accidentally unleashes Axenos. Axenos is genuinely thankful to the player and his attempt to kill the player is meant as a true reward since it will spare the player from witnessing the horrors he plans to bring upon the spiral.
- In Girl Genius, Dr. Beetle, the much beloved ruler of Beetleburg, dies as a result of Silas Merlot's unnecessarily dramatic actions. Merlot attempts to toady up to Baron Wulfenbach and formulate a plan to hide Dr. Beetle's death—whereupon the Baron commands that Dr. Beetle be given a funeral with highest honors, the exact details of his death hidden from the public, and, just to illustrate to Merlot how hard he's fucked up, Merlot is put in charge of Beetleburg and the University. Merlot, having never much liked our protagonist Agatha, expels her on the spot for sheer petty spite. Later, a team of Wulfenbach's cryptographers decode Dr. Beetle's encrypted notes, revealing Agatha's true identity to Merlot, who begins a frantic search for her, which fails (because she's already on Castle Wulfenbach). Merlot thinks that if Wulfenbach found out who Merlot let slip through his fingers, it would be curtains... so he destroys all evidence—labs, record halls and the cryptographers—in a fire. Wulfenbach discovers it another way, finds out about Merlot's attempts to cover his butt and so he sends him to Castle Heterodyne..
- In Sluggy Freelance, the future Lord Horribus is set to do this to his informant Amospia, who gave the demons the key to the city so that she and her lover could escape. The Asps accidentally kill Amospia's lover, then are accidentally fused to her when she is turned into a snake demon.
- In Pirates of Dark Water, during the Pilot Mini Series, Bloth "rewards" a pirate who returns his minion Konk by conscripting her into service as a Dagron pilot.
- In the first Wing Commander Academy episode, "Red and Blue", the human technician who betrayed the Terran Confederation was asked by the Kilrathi captain he ran to with the stolen information why the human had betrayed his own kind. In a subversion, the captain spaces the human not for the treason, but the reason for it not being "noble" by Kilrathi standards.
- In He-Man 2002 Evil-Lyn is sentenced to be eaten by the Snake Men after betraying the Evil Warriors to King Hisss.
- A mild version occurs in an episode of The Simpsons. Bart pulled a prank at church by switching the opening hymn with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". Milhouse ends up ratting him out and is praised by Rev. Lovejoy for it, who then takes Bart away from punishment...and drags Milhouse along, too, saying, "You too, snitchy."
- Kings are historically known to be deadly to the assassins of other kings, in good part from self-interest: they don't want people to start thinking regicide is morally acceptable.
- Alexander the Great is known to have done this upon the assassination of Darius III, the late king of Persia, and Alexander's primary antagonist up until that point. Upon catching the assassin, Bessus, he was turned over for a Persian style torture and execution. Don't expect a king to favor regicide.
- After Pompey had lost the civil war against Julius Caesar, he fled to Egypt, where he was assassinated by the very people he thought would give him shelter. The main instigator of Pompey's death, Pothinus, was indeed incarcerated and executed at Caesar's orders. What he didn't get was that though presenting the head of the enemy on a plate was somewhat common and rewarded in the Middle East, it was unheard of, and so despised, among the Romans.
- Roman emperors also tended to follow this policy with their predecessors' assassins. A particularly noteworthy example of this is Emperor Claudius, who followed the extremely unpopular and quite possibly criminally insane megalomaniac Emperor Gaius, commonly known as Caligula today. As the Roman biographer Suetonius notes, Claudius ordered all of Caligula's assassins executed, in part because he knew some of them had probably been planning to assassinate him as well.
- In Snorri Sturluson's sagas of the old Norwegian kings, King Olav has beaten one of the last great pagan leaders, and said leader has gone into hiding. The King promises to place a ring around the neck of whoever brings him his enemy (likely so he can publicly baptize him, a stronger victory for the Christian king). The pagan leader's thrall, Kark, who has fled with him, hears of this and kills his master for the reward... and Olav repays him by cutting his head off, indeed giving him a ring around his neck—of blood, rather than gold.
- Genghis Khan finally united the Mongol tribes when, after defeating his main rival's army and forcing him to flee, two of the enemy generals betrayed their leader and brought him in, expecting to be rewarded. The rival was given a (relatively) quick and honourable death; the two generals were boiled alive. This is mostly because the Great Khan had made an universal rule of "do not betray your Khan" even if it wasn't him. He did it all the time actually; proposed high positions in his army to the honorable opponents captured alive, but killing those who helped him by treason. The reasoning was presumably that no-one wants such people at their side after the victory.
- After having a lot of trouble with the Lusitanian rebel leader Viriathus in Hispania, the Romans decided to deal with him by bribing his own ambassadors to assassinate him. They promptly killed him in his sleep and returned for their reward. Quintus Servilius Caepio promptly informed them that "Rome does not pay traitors" and had the three of them executed.
- According to ancient Roman historical legend, the Tarpeian Rock (which was used as a place of execution) got its name from Tarpeia, who let a Sabine invasion force into the city in exchange for "what they bore on their arms." She meant their gold bracelets; instead, they killed her by bashing her with their shields.
- In Roman legend Camillus was approached by the schoolmaster of a neighboring city, Faleria, with which Rome was at war. The schoolmaster had lured his charges out of the city, and offered them to the Romans as hostages. Camillus, shocked, ordered the schoolmaster to be stripped naked, beaten and bound, and had the schoolboys drive him back to Faleria, where their parents had found out that they had been lured away and were lamenting. When the boys came back, driving their traitorious schoolmaster ahead of them and singing Camillus' praises, the Falerians were so happy that they called off the war and became loyal allies and friends of the Roman people.
- The Roman general Sulla, after seizing control of the city, had a number of his political opponents declared enemies of the state. One of these, Sulpicius, was betrayed by one of his slaves. Sulla rewarded the slave for his aid in killing an enemy of the state, and then had the slave thrown to his death from the Tarpian Rock as punishment for betraying his master.
- Hungarian tradition has the story of György Szondi who had heroically defended a small fort against the Turkish forces led by Ali Pasha in the 16th century. The story goes that a tanner from the fort snuck over to the enemy's camp and offered Ali to give away the weak points of the fort, in exchange for "as much gold as his skins can hold". Take a wild guess how Ali Pasha (a honorable man) decided to pay the reward after they have won...
- In 1306, Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeen was betrayed to Edward I of England by the castle blacksmith, Osborne, in exchange for gold. When the battle was won, the English rewarded Osborne by pouring molten gold down his throat.
- Averted in the case of Benedict Arnold. While not especially well-liked by the British, he was (despite his plot failing) still paid and given a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army. He still died in debt and despised by the few million people he had betrayed though.
- However, it should also be noted that Benedict Arnold didn't betray the colonists to become rich or powerful, at least not solely. He was, in point of fact, being treated extremely unfairly by his allies, and turned coat back to the British side when he had had enough of it, believing that at least his efforts would be appreciated by the British.
- Also it should be noted that the British perceived him as abandoning treachery, not engaging in it. He was, after all, switching sides from rebelling against the king to fighting for him.
- Nazi Germany (SS in particular) was even more brutal to Jewish traitors than to other traitors.
- In the end, the Nazis 'rewarded' all Jews equally: it didn't matter how enthusiastically you collaborated with them, in the end you would end up being shot or sent to the gas chamber. You could win a bit more time and better surroundings for yourself if you turned traitor, however. A big example would be the Sonderkommando, who assisted the SS in burning the bodies of dead prisoners and ushering other prisoners into the gas chambers but were taken out and shot on a fixed basis for knowing too much.
- In World War II during the Allied invasion of Vichy-held North Africa, French soldiers cut vital communication lines so orders to fire on the invading American forces couldn't go through. The pro-Nazi Vichy government (which was allowed to continue in power in North Africa for political reasons) later sentenced those soldiers for treason, and General Patton refused to exert pressure to get them released because to him a traitor was a traitor, no matter what the cause.
- Then vastly averted when pretty much every other other Western Allied leader of note in the European War pretty much threatened the Vichy admin with utterly annihilation if they went through with it on the basis that the French soldiers were not traitors to the (supposedly illegitimate) Vichy government (which was itself a traitorous regime of collaborators to the Nazis) but loyal to the Free French. Pretty much all of them were quietly transferred over to De Gaulle in order to avoid the resulting stink.
- Another straight example would be Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess who escaped to Scotland on the eve of Germany's war on Soviet Union to negotiate a peace with the United Kingdom. Instead he was arrested by the British and was held until the end of the war. Then at the end of the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and was sentenced for life.
- American voters seem to feel this way in regards to party switchers. Senator Arlen Specter lost his primary after switching to a Democrat after over 30 years as a Republican Senator. In Alabama, Representative Parker Griffith switched to a Republican barely a year after being elected as a Democrat, and was hammered in a huge defeat in the Republican primary.
- Not just Americans. If a Canadian Member of Parliament "crosses the floor" (as opposed to simply leaving his party and sitting as an independant), he can pretty much give up all hopes of re-election.
- There was in murder case in Wisconsin around 1992 where a man who worked at a papermill told his superiors at the job that one of his coworkers had stolen a large extension cord from the company. The thief went unpunished, but the "snitch" was strangled with said extension cord, wrapped up in it and thrown into a paper vat for payback.
- During the Turkish conquest of Egypt, an Egyptian vizier who attempted to betray his country was rewarded as a traitor deserves, the Turkish leader reasoning that he couldn't trust a traitor not to turn around and betray him.
- King Henry I of England had a man pushed off the tower of Rouen Castle for breaking an oath with Henry's enemy (and brother), Robert.
- In the commercial/industrial aspect, there's this story about a man who worked at and sought to sell Coca-Cola trade secrets... who was busted by Pepsi Co. He was sentenced to 4 years in jail.
- Often averted. If you shoot a traitor to your enemy flamboyantly you get no more traitors.
- Kim Philby ended up spending his life in Moscow, coming out of retirement occasionally to lecture at the KGB academy. Whatever their feelings the Russians were not stupid enough to bust their chances of getting more Philbys.