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  • Draco Malfoy is the Trope Namer. Even though he's a smug Spoiled Brat and a Dirty Coward who only feels confident behind his burly cronies, fans (mostly girls) like to paint him as a sexy and sensitive guy. J. K. Rowling was always confused why people like to treat Draco this way, because she never intended for Draco to be particularly attractive. The casting of Tom Felton as Draco in the movies probably contributed heavily to the phenomenon. Even though he does get a little better by Half-Blood Prince and even becomes somewhat of a Jerkass Woobie, he's still far from nice, and never canonically lives up to his treatment by fans.
  • Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs.
  • The blind poet Milton created the official King of this trope, Lucifer/Satan, in his epic Paradise Lost.
  • Murtagh from The Inheritance Cycle is loved by both fans and anti-fans alike. Anti-fans tend to dub him as "the only likable character in the entire series"; he has a vast following in the true fandom as well, mostly among Fangirls who endlessly repeat, "Murtagh is so hot!" He is frequently referred to as the "real hero" of the Cycle. Please note that this did not apply until after his Face Heel Turn.It helps that the hero of the series tortured a guy.
    • Galbatorix and Sloan have been embraced by much of the Hatedom as heroes. Galbatorix has hardly done a single heroic thing in the whole series — heck, he's hardly done anything at all. He appoints sociopaths as his generals, and he has human-eating beasties run around and do his bidding - but, if you think that Eragon's irredeemably evil, then his nemesis Galbatorix must be a good guy — right? Sloan is somewhat more justified because he did wrong only to save his daughter; even Eragon gave him some respect in the end.
    • Murtagh has just about the best Freudian Excuse for his actions in the entire story what with him being magically forced to be evil. Also one of the ways that they mentioned to break that curse is to fall in love making him prime material for a Love Redeems type of fanfiction. His character also isn't a Marty Stu like the main character and has had more of an arc despite only appearing at the beginning and end of the second book and the end of the third. Ironically enough, Love Redeems is exactly what redeems him in the final book.
  • Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials. Granted, they are magnificent bastards and anti villains, but many people are willing to completely ignore the questionable, cruel, and downright evil things they have done. It was only aggravated by their on-screen roles being played by Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, respectively.
    • Admirers of Asriel in the film canon can almost be excused; the one truly inexcusable thing he does, literally sacrificing his daughter's best friend to open the gate between worlds, was shifted to the (then) as-yet-unmade (and subsequently cancelled) sequel.
  • Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish in A Song of Ice and Fire. He's a Magnificent Bastard with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. His ultimate goals are rather unclear, as is just how much of the anarchy and war that dominates the books has been orchestrated by him, but he has taken credit for the majority of it and its implied to be little more than Despotism Justifies the Means. Corners of the fandom treat him like a divine saviour whose goals are all working to the benefit of the small folk, the people the wars have screwed over the most. Not to mention, they also "forget" how he forces unwanted kisses on his teenage niece-by-marriage Sansa Stark, his disciple and possible candidate for Queen, how he personally murdered his wife, Lysa Arryn and was responsible for the deaths of Jon Arryn and Ned Stark and how he forced an 11-year-old girl Sansa's friend, Jeyne Poole into prostitution.
    • Baelish most likely being (at least one of) the Chessmaster(s) setting up the pieces that started the wars, it's highly unlikely he genuinely cares for the smallfolk.
      • Indeed. Don't forget the fact that the War of Five Kings was kicked off by Baelish betraying Ned, the closest person in the series to The Hero as one can get, securing Joffrey's place on the throne.
        • And it was set up by the death of the previous Hand of the King...which was also orchestrated by Baelish, this time directly, as was the frame-up of Tyrion for the crime. It's very possible, likely even, that he is straight-up Chaotic Evil and has triggered a continent-spanning civil war for power and For the Evulz, getting off on manipulating everybody and getting away with it, until he is either king himself or puts the king on the throne, assuming that he'll stop even then.
    • As it turns out, there is also a small portion of the fandom that has decided, against all evidence, that Cersei Lannister is a tragic heroine trapped in abusive relationships with Jaime (in which she is the abuser) and Robert (okay, they got this one right). While it's true that her life has not always been a bed of roses, and Robert was undeniably a very abusive husband, this doesn't even come close to absolving Cersei of guilt for the monstrous crimes she herself has committed; it is at best a Freudian Excuse.
      • You DO have to question how abusive Robert really WAS to Cersei. She has a victim complex, after all. Remember when Joffrey sliced open a pregnant cat to get at the babies and Robert rightfully punished him (if a bit excessive there), Cersei acted like he was a horrible abusive father to Joffrey. When Jaime-after learning Cersei cheated on him SEVERAL times rejected her advances, the entire victim's complex kicked in again. She was also blind to Joffrey's Obviously Evil actions, and wanted Sansa and Margaery (who turned the tables on her) to be as abused and mistreated as SHE thought she was-hence why she kept Sansa with Joffrey for so long.
    • Sandor "The Hound" Clegane gets this from time to time himself. Granted, he does go through considerable Character Development, along with a Freudian Excuse and later characterization as a Badass Anti-Villain with shades of The Atoner, even. However, despite his protective attitude towards both of the Stark girls, he's still a violent, Ax Crazy Jerkass up until the end. Fortunately there's no incestuous Yaoi Slash Fic with him and Gregor...yet. Give it time.
    • Tywin Lannister has a fair amount of fans, who admire his talent for scheming and take as Word of God his brother's assessment that while a harsh man, he was no harsher than necessary, and acted for the good of the family/realm. However, regardless of any positive outcomes of his actions, Tywin is shown to be totally unempathetic, and treats everyone as pawns who can be raped or killed (or rewarded) depending on his current scheme. Moreover, the circumstances of Tywin's death basically imply that he was just a hypocrite, and that Tywin's adoring brother Kevan was deluded by love for his brother into seeing good that wasn't there.
      • In fairness, Kevan and Genna knew what Tywin was, they just loved him for being their brother.

 Genna: Every little girl needs a big brother to protect her, and Tywin was big even when he little.

  • Puddy from Tales of MU. Despite knowing pretty much nothing about her backstory or inner thoughts, her fans on the story's forum seem absolutely certain that she had a rotten home life and that this makes her a poor wonderful Woobie who just needs a hug. Don't mind her various assaults on the hero, her attack on the series' actual Woobie, or her abusive and bigoted attitude... HUG!
    • See also "The Man". This character has only appeared in three short flashback stories involving the protagonist's mother as a child. In the first one, he nearly drowns her. In the second, he tries to seduce her (she's 12). In the third, he impregnates her at the age of 15 and is confirmed as a Man Eating Demon. The reader reactions range from "Damn, he's smooth!" to "Let's wait to see some real evil before we judge him."
    • In his defense we know nothing about him and as he points out that Demons more or less get a raw deal. Goblins and Ogres don't bother hiding whatever evil they've got, and dragons openly eat humans but they're allowed to walk the streets without issue. Demons meanwhile don't get anything, since a recent chapter displays that even if a demon keeps their word and all parties are happy with the deal the demon in question is assumed to be scheming and still evil. It doesn't help that his views on the god that hate him aren't the same open hatred and assault he gets in return and that all of the demonic rampages seem to amount to sex things. The fact that he has a raw deal doesn't excuse child molestation but it can be said that he never intended to drown Laurel Annie and never actually knew he impregnated her.
  • Joren from Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet got this for a while - in Canon, he's radiantly beautiful to the point of being a White-Haired Pretty Boy but also petty, bullying, sadistic and homophobic. He exists to bully the heroine, stage a few hazings, half-assedly attempt to befriend her and die in a closet. He's received the Draco Malfoy treatment in fanfiction quite a bit, when he's written about at all. Despite how this would probably disturb the author resoundingly, he's usually paired off with the heroine.
  • Raistlin Majere of the Dragonlance novels may qualify as this, although he has been a protagonist in some of the novels. He is definitely evil, and creepy-looking to boot, and yet he has a massive collection of slavering fangirls who write endless Mary Sue stories pairing him off. Which isn't to say that he isn't awesomely badass, because he is, but he's not somebody any sane person would be writing a fluffy romance fanfic about.
  • Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights has received this treatment over the years, having become something of an archetype of the tortured-but-dashing Gothic Romantic Hero With A Heart Of Gold, up there with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre. This completely overlooks the fact that, within the novel, he is presented as a repellent, violent, and obsessively vindictive bully who spitefully destroys everyone who ever looked cross-eyed at him... and then, when they're dead, immediately does his best to destroy the lives of their children instead. He's not entirely unsympathetic, but neither is he in any way a hero or admirable/romantic figure, and Emily Bronte never intended him to be.
    • For that matter, Rochester has received some of this over the years as well; however, whilst he's certainly no saint, he is arguably presented with enough Karmic Retribution for his misdeeds and expresses enough genuine regret for his actions to at least slightly redeem himself in the eyes of the reader, unlike the largely unrepentant Heathcliff (whose karmic payback, whilst present, is a bit more oblique).
    • Emily Brontë may have foreseen this reaction when she created Isabella Linton, a silly teenager, who insists on perceiving Heathcliff as a Gothic Romantic Hero even though everybody around her tells her he isn't. It takes him hanging her pet dog before their elopement and then a few months (or was it years?) of an abusive marriage to get this idea out of her head.
    • Going by the reactions witnessed in a long-ago Lit class, I think some of the desire to redeem or reinterpret Heathcliff might spring from annoyance with the actual text for presenting his malevolent character as having something to do, "naturally," with his unknown, "impure" (likely Roma) blood and dark skin.
    • This troper cannot help but wonder how much of this interpretation we have Kate Bush to blame for. (I love her, but...)
  • William Hamleigh in Pillars of the Earth, a spoiled and sadistic noble, whom, when his peasants cannot pay their taxes, rapes their wives and daughters as compensation. For some reason, certain fangirls wish that their fathers couldn't pay the taxes, so they could be brutally raped and tortured by William.
  • Dracula pretty much popularized the "Sexy Vampire". Which is thoroughly disturbing considering in the original novel he was never portrayed as anything other than a hideous monster devoted to killing everyone and everything.
    • Dracula was essentially a Victorian metaphor for sex; expressing the simultaneous aversion to and fear of sexuality combined with the pervasive underlying obsession with sex that was consistently repressed in Victorian culture. The description of Dracula himself as physically unappealing bordering on repulsive, yet possessing a hypnotic, almost irresistible, personal magnetism, fairly well sums up the mindset.
    • Thank goodness for Orlok, who has managed to dodge this treatment. For now.
  • Cthulhu. Because an enormous, octopus-faced Eldritch Abomination who's waking causes insanity and death would totally be a nice guy to us!
    • Got referenced in this Irregular Webcomic strip (with link to this page, of course), when Cthulhu has problems dealing with fans wanting his autograph.
    • While we are at it, Nyarlathotep seems to make lots and lots of appearance outside the Mythos, screwing people left and right (sometimes literally) and looks awesome doing so.
  • Most of the males in the Black Jewels series fit this trope. Daemon and (his father) Saetan are literally written to be walking sex (moreso with Daemon, since Saetan is, well... aged) and are given sympathetic backstories and (generally) valid reasons to be total bastards. But think about it: they're both murderers (whether the people deserved it or not is debatable, depending on who it was. Some were caught in the crossfire, some didn't know better, some deserved worse, etc etc).
    • Saetan, for instance, scared the SHIT out of people and used the memory of the event as a warning for what would happen if they sufficiently pissed him off. What did he do? In response to their butchering his newborn son because he didn't accept their trade demands, he made an entire island and people cease to exist. Not killed. Not destroyed. Cease to exist. As in wiped them from the land, made the island, people and history never happen and wiped all record of them from the breeding lists and record that were kept by THE FREAKING CREATOR OF THE JEWELS. His own friends needed to change their shorts. Daemon and Lucivar only kill people (who usually do deserve it).
    • In his defense, he did it because receiving the dismembered body of his infant son drove him insane. And these are the heroes!
    • They're portrayed as very physically attractive, but also very frightening, even to other protagonists. On the other hand — again with the Sick Sad World — it turns out that their scarred minds are what allow them to accept and love Jaenelle, which is a good thing because their love is what kept her from going over the edge into insanity, and the results of that could be...ugly.
  • Several villains from Warrior Cats:
  • To a certain extent, Thrawn from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Yes, Zahn made him and the other Imperials a lot more complex and generally admirable than the boring and formulaic Card-Carrying Villain types that a lot of the lesser authors use in the 'verse. He wasn't evil, not black-and-white. But he was very ruthless, pragmatic, and above all, Imperial. He wasn't above You Have Failed Me, even if he needed more of a reason and was more forgiving of crew who weren't at fault. He lied, he was willing to hand Leia and her unborn twins to an insane Dark Jedi, he kept an entire species in indefinite servitude with the lie that when he finished repairing their homeworld they'd be free, he tortured, he did have a temper and he showed it. Often, though, he's portrayed purely as someone who did what he had to do and chose to become a Necessary Evil. It probably helps that he is a mysterious alien Grand Admiral in an Empire prejudiced against aliens, and he has pale blue skin and glowing red eyes. And it really helps that he's a Magnificent Bastard Badass Normal. His tactics and plans are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
    • In a way, the Leatherpantsing of Thrawn is sort of his author's fault. Later-written books handling a younger Thrawn do hint that he saw something coming and wanted to prepare for it, and generally he's not totally unsympathetic; the more recently a book was written, the less evil he seems. But even in Outbound Flight, where he is relatively outspoken and has a brother, a people, and regards something he does as Dirty Business, he is pragmatic, ruthless, a terrible enemy, and has plans involving letting friends who saved his life get captured by an enemy. He doesn't tell them about those plans, either. He lets them think they've been abandoned to die.
    • There's also a surprising amount of Kyp Durron slash fic out there. (Not quite the same thing, but he blew up a couple stars with inhabited planets.) There are also a few Luke fangirls on who fetishize the Imperial uniform from Dark Empire, which can be seen on In the Blood.
    • treats the entire Empire this way. There's an extended Star Wars vs Star Trek fic by the site's owner, and you get the feeling he only grudgingly admits the Federation are the good guys.
    • Perhaps the greatest Star Wars example though, is Darth Bane. He's a merciless, child-murdering monster of a Villain Protagonist, yet many who read the trilogy just walked away thinking about how awesome he was.
    • Fate of the Jedi: Ben/Vestara shippers obviously hope for this in Vestara and to some, most, if not the entire, Lost Tribe of the Sith. In the meantime, Ascension's cover depicts Ben and Vestara back to back, lightsabers raised in unison...
      • Ben leather pantses Vestara, and Vestara inverts it, taking a clearly heroic character (Ben) and trying to imagine him as a villain (specifically as her husband and the greatest Sith ever).
      • Actually, Vestara subverts it. She's been taught to regard Sith as heroes and Jedi as villains, so technically she's playing it straight by imagining her enemy as a hero. But the audience have pre-conceived notions on who is a hero and who is a villain, so portraying this natural tendency in a teenage girl on the other side quite effectively highlights how Not So Different she is from Ben.

 "Ben, I can see why ship was drawn to you. There's the making of a fine Sith in you, you know that?"

"Let us not devolve into insults."

(Vestara throws a fruit at him)

  • The author of The Pendragon Adventure may have made Saint Dane too magnificent for his own good. While he isn't described as particularly attractive in his default form, it has become strangely common for fanart to depict him as a lithe White-Haired Pretty Boy. Add that to his indisputable charisma, and a disturbing amount of fans have turned him into a figure worthy of support and admiration, despite his active attempts to drive all worlds to destruction so he can remake them to his liking, and the thinly-disguised sadistic pleasure he takes in doing it. This might explain why the later books stress those parts.
  • Senna Wales from the Everworld series. She's attractive, super-intelligent, and all around magnificent. She also gets a Villain Episode in the ninth book of the series, dedicated to exploring her personality and past, that gives her a Freudian Excuse and paints her as more of a Jerkass Woobie than a straight-up villain, which makes matters even worse. Of course, most of her fans fully embrace that she's sick and twisted and just decide to root for her anyway.
  • Visser Three in Animorphs. This is mainly due to him being Affably Evil in prequel books
  • Luke from Percy Jackson and The Olympians.
    • Understandable, since he's given a Woobie backstory wherein his mom is insane and his dad is absent, but that doesn't excuse the fact that his greatest wish is for all the gods to die, his dad included, and he's perfectly willing to make a deal with a Complete Monster to see it fulfilled.
      • Mythology nuts point out that despite how well researched these books are the Greek gods were really not that much better than the titans and a complete monster portrayal of Chronos really isn't totally accurate.
      • I think we can forgive the author somewhat for this, though, given the books were based off stories he would tell his dyslexic son (and were thus written for a younger audience). You hardly want your kids rooting for Jerkass gods, do you? Besides, it's an alternate continuity altogether - for one example, I do recall Medusa (killed by Perseus in myth) being alive during Book 1.
        • No it isn't. I think the first book explicitly stated that all the monsters they have to deal with are reincarnations of the original ones from the myths, which are all actual history.
          • The Jerkass Gods are actually acknowledged in the book, and Percy has a rather epic Calling the Old Man Out moment at the end of the series reminding the gods that this entire mess was ENTIRELY their fault and if they had done even a TINY BIT of parenting, it could have all been avoided. It was just that the Titans would DESTROY THE WORLD and the Gods were not. It wasn't necessarily that the Gods were 'more good' or 'more moral', they were just the best choice if you'd rather not all of humanity die.
  • Ironically, it was partly due to the Leatherpantsing of Raskolnikov on the part of one Friedrich Nietzsche that we got Nietzschean philosophy.
  • Redwall's vermin sometimes get this, though in their case it's less "In Leather Pants" than "Posing For Cuteness Overload", except among certain sections of the Furry Fandom. Yeah, the woodlanders are prejudiced against them. Ever consider that that might be because the vermin attempt to eat them at every opportunity? Not helped by the subjective nature of What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.
    • The thing is, the whole prejudice comes off as Fantastic Racism, since Always Chaotic Evil is pretty much a dead or dying trope by now. It's been subverted and deconstructed so much that a series blithely playing it absolutely, deadpan straight book after book causes a bit of a disconnect. It's not necessarily leather pants so much as a literary device that seems horribly outdated but rigidly adhered to.
    • For the most part, this is focused on the less ridiculously evil vermin and more on the stupid ones that're Ugly Cute. Dingeye and Thura are less evil as wildly incompetent and dangerously unconcerned with safety, while Lousewort and Sneezewort might well be too too stupid to understand anything as complicated as tying a knot, never mind anthropophagism. On the other hand, you've got people who fangirled Cluny. This Cluny, the horrifically ugly, one-eyed, obviously cannibalistic, murderous maniac.
  • Many Janeites dislike the quiet, shy, timid Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, atypical among Austen's otherwise sassy, witty, Deadpan Snarker heroines. Consequently, many critics are drawn to the Romantic False Lead Mary Crawford and somehow claim she actually has the personality more typical for Austen's heroines. Because Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, and the rest all considered love secondary to money in marriage, would try to persuade a friend to marry a man she doesn't love, and would callously wish for someone's ill older brother to die so that he would get his inheritance and therefore be rich enough to marry, right?
  • Maedhros and Maglor (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the Fëanorians) from The Silmarillion sometimes fall prey to this. They do have redeeming qualities but they're still definitely not complete innocents, what with having slaughtered many innocent people. Maglor in particular gets to be a Draco in Leather Pants, with a few authors forgetting the "warrior" in "Warrior Poet". Still, a great many more balanced (and more interesting) portrayals exist out there.
  • Mark Twain actually noticed this trope when he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the chapter where it is revealed that Injun Joe was dead, it is mentioned that the women of the town had been in the process of getting together a petition to get him pardoned (despite the fact that he committed murder and framed a man too drunk to remember the events of the night properly). As Twain notes, the women would probably have put together the petition if it had been Satan himself being arrested.
  • Irial from Wicked Lovely. Hot as hell? Yes. Interesting character? Yes. Best advertisement for tobacco companies ever? Yes. Angel without fault who has never done anything evil? HELL NO.
  • Drake from Gone. In the course of four books, his exploits include: enforcing a brutal semi-police state, forcing a girl to call her autistic brother a retard to his face, leading an effort to encase the hands of several kids in concrete to prevent them from activating powers, holding several children five years or younger hostage, setting coyotes on said children, and torturing the main character while threatening to cause a nuclear meltdown and kill hundreds if the main character doesn't stand and take it, and, oh yeah, implying that he wants to rape said main character's girlfriend. And the Big Bad's girlfriend. But he's just misunderstood.
    • Caine gets this as well, as does Diana. Diana is probably the most understandable, as even she has her limits and is less an outright villain than a morally neutral person in a difficult situation who does what's necessary to ensure her survival, but even she's something of a bitch.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Fujiwara, to some. case in point.
  • A bit of an odd example, but the Hatter from Alice in Wonderland has suffered this. While he is in no way traditionally handsome in the Tenniel illustrations and may not be much of a villain, he is still an antagonist in the books. Perhaps it is because he is one of the few human characters, perhaps it is just because his hats are very, very cool, but whatever the reason, in most Alice adaptations and fanfics, the Hatter becomes Alice's dashing love interest or closest ally. In reality, the Hatter was just a crazy old lunatic who seemed to get much pleasure from causing as much annoyance as humanly possible.
    • He had quite a few interesting things to say though, even in the original, that made people think just a little about what was going on in his head. Disney's adaptation also stuck in a lot of childrens' heads, and it showed the Mad Hatter being, well, mad but also very fun and not too antagonistic at all. Plenty of kids wished that they could celebrate their "un-birthday" with him at his tea party. In an odd sort of way, all of the above may have led to a lot of those kids growing up to be teens interested in pairing Alice and the Hatter - simply out of familiarity with their interactions. Also, Disney itself seems interested in it, as the two characters parade around Disneyland routinely. Some of the actors who portray them have been known for giving the whole thing some subtext oddly enough. A livejournal user "Bri_chan" did a very well written manifesto here. Nevertheless, the Hatter may not be so much of a DILP as he is a whacky character Archetype. And people do like to ship the "ordinary girl" archetype with the Mad Hatter trope apparently, even if the Hatter changes slightly in every adaptation. It is extremely rare to find people who actually ship the original antagonistic Hatter with Alice after all.
      • And then out came the Tim Burton sequel to Alice In Wonderland, complete with the Mad Hatter being played by Johnny Depp...
      • Also came the mini-series, Alice, based off of Alice in Wonderland in which the Mad Hatter is made into a very likable, definitely handsome character who ends up with Alice in the end.
  • Jonathan Teatime, Complete Monster and Psychopathic Manchild from the Discworld novel Hogfather seems to get this a lot. If Shipping Susan and Teatime doesn't make your skin crawl, you have failed to understand the character. There is not a trace of Foe Yay in the book; there is simply a total psycho and a woman who recognises the need to stop said psycho.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea gave us The Captain Nemo as a Wicked Cultured, Nice Guy who constantly crosses the Moral Event Horizon (even when he is ashamed of it) and hardly even notices when he Kick the Dog. An Aesop of the novel is to show that no matter how good or charismatic you are, Technology Is Evil and to have a Weapon of Mass Destruction means that With Great Power Comes Great Insanity as Nemo’s Villainous Breakdown takes him and his entire crew to the Maelstrom. However, Misaimed Fandom always forget the Aesop because Nemo is the poster boy (out and In-Universe) for Affably Evil, Cry for the Devil, Dark and Troubled Past, Troubled but Cute, Well-Intentioned Extremist and even Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Even though neither is technically a villain, Edward and Jacob from Twilight could both be considered examples of this. They're emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive to Bella, they stalk her, and they're scarily possessive of her, and that's really just naming a few things. And yet countless teens (and a disturbing number of grown women) think that these things are actually romantic. It doesn't help that the author is probably one of those people.