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"Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good."
It's one of the deepest ideas in our collective (un)consciousness. The Sun brings heat, makes plants grow, drives us to awaken, explore, work, create. Gods of the Sun and Moon are associated with law, arts, the mind, justice, protection, inspiration, all the things that make up the best part of being human. (And even the other nice thing about being human gets this treatment - Venus is, after all, the Morning Star.) The lightbulb coming on over one's head is the genesis of a great idea. By light we can see the world; by extension, light lets us confront evil and destroy it, both within and without ourselves.
It's the more or less obvious conclusion.
Almost every RPG does this, some more than others. (It's always the holy magic that heals, never the dark.) For characters with light-based powers with this connotation, see Light'Em Up. Holy Hand Grenade is not out of the question.
Light Is Not Good originated as a subversion of this Trope. Note, however, that Good Is Not Nice can also come into play if said hero has an affinity for light, and both Light Is Good and Light Is Not Good may come into play, as a Hypocrite tries to pose as a good guy by taking on the trappings suitable for the good guys. If a story wants to use Light Is Good and Dark Is Not Evil at the same time, it's generally justified as both forces being necessary for a truly stable and peaceful world, with the perceived 'evil' of darkness being a misunderstanding between the sides.
Anime and Manga
- In Naruto a colored chapter cover revealed that Naruto becomes yellow with shades of orange when he enters Chakra Mode, as seen here.
- Purity goes with light in Sailor Moon, and it becomes a common theme (most easily seen in SuperS).
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn has Syam Vist, a kind old man in white robes and Banagher Links, who pilots a White Gundam known as The Unicorn that is named after a Beast of Light and Possibility
- Angemon and Angewomon of Digimon Adventure are both angelic Digimon with Hair of Gold who both debuted to promptly easily defeat a powerful dark Digimon with their powers of light. Angewomon takes this almost to ridiculous extremes - her partner is Hikari Yagami, whose first name translates to "light", and who uses the Crest of Light to make her evolve to Angewomon to begin with. Oh, and near the end of Adventure she started glowing.
- Most of the heroes in Fullmetal Alchemist are blondes with gold eyes to boot.
- Superman is powered in part by the light of Earth's yellow sun.
- And Ultraman.
- And Birdman.
- As their Badass Creed says, Green Lantern's light is their power that the worshipers of Evil's might should beware.
- Of course, the GLs co-exist with several groups wielding light that are not so benevolent.
- The Light Side in Star Wars.
- Rey in the Sequel Trilogy usually wears white or light grey clothing. After all, she's "a ray of light."
- Poltergeist. The medium Tangina says:
Tangina: When people die, there's a wonderful light as bright as the sun. But it doesn't hurt to look into it. All the answers to all the questions that you ever want to know are inside that light. And when you walk to it, you become a part of it forever.
- In Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within the Earth's Gaia is a bright pale blue light that is in direct contrast to the angry red of the Phantoms.
- In the first Lord of the Rings film, Arwen appears to Frodo in a flowing white gown with light radiating out from her. This is just a vision to Frodo but it symbolises that she is good and is there to help him.
- A bit of a no-brainer but the stars in Stardust. They shine when their hearts are full of joy and happiness although Yvaine actually uses this as a weapon against the witches.
- The Autobots in the Bayverse are generally more colourful than the various shades of grey and black Decepticons.
- This trope is played straight in most of the movies from the Disney Animated Canon:
- Prince Charming in Cinderella wears a white and gold jacket.
- Oddly, Ray the firefly in The Princess and the Frog. His light abilities prove useful in fighting shadow demons.
- In Tangled, Rapunzel, a gentle, caring girl who is a Friend to All Living Things, loves daylight (as well as starlight) and has shining golden hair because her mother ingested a flower that had grown from a drop of liquid sunlight.
- In the Harry Potter films, the Order of the Phoenix apparates into places in bursts of bright white light.
- Night Watch's Light Others live and breathe this trope... though, it can be said that the series examines this trope, bends it, reshapes it, subverts it, averts it, and when all else is lost, the author throws in the towel and pretty much says that all bets are off.
- It's a bit of a deconstruction of Character Alignment in general, but this in particular: the series features both Totalitarian Utilitarians and Knights Templar as a means to explore how people who can't knowingly betray their principles can still cause a hell of a lot of damage. At one point one of the Dark Ones pretty much invokes Evil Is Petty to explain why the Light Ones with their world encompassing ambitions are so much more dangerous than the Dark Ones who are just selfish
- The Light in The Dark Is Rising series of novels.
- In the Wheel of Time series, the Creator and the Light.
- Boktai has the solar child Django and his solar empowered gun.
- In mythology and fantasy stories, light (particularly sunlight) severely impairs or even harms monsters.
- The Child of Light (and the Prophecy of Light) in The Belgariad.
- In The Dresden Files, sunlight is anathema to most creatures of the Nevernever, and can disrupt more negative and evil enchantments and spells. Also, the Swords of the Cross emit light that cancels out the powers of the Denarians.
- Plus the Summer Faeries tend to be fairly benevolent whereas the Winter ones are actively sadistic, although both sides are manipulative and capable of great crimes, when you put the two Courts next to one another it is played fairly straight
- The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Magic, Inc., the heroes storm Hell because light always overcomes darkness (since darkness is merely the absence of light), and they are the forces of Light, so it does not behoove them to sit around reacting to the demonic forcs.
- Diane Duane's Young Wizards series works with this considerably, especially in the first book, although they play with it increasingly through the series and at the end of the third book have a decisive Redemption arc where it is shown that Dark Does Not Have To Be Bad. Of course, the fact that the Powers don't live within linear time means there are still loads and loads of incarnations of the Lone One running around being evil for books and books more, but they've finally given him the chance to start going home.
- T. S. Eliot's Choruses from "The Rock"
О Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Father Christmas tells Miranda, Mab and Mephisto that they can stay a while because all who serve the Light are welcome.
- In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, only the good guys are capable of casting the light spell.
- The Ultramen are beings of light and defenders of the universe from monsters and other evils threatening it.
- Star Trek media generally has Starfleet's ships as being white or silver, contrasting the darker colours of their foes.
- In the Lusitanian Mythology, the god Endovelicus was associated with light and healing, being obviously benevolent. However, the same mythology also has Neto, a sun god associated with war, and when Christianity settled in Endovelicus became identified with Lucifer.
- Exalted gives us The Unconquered Sun, the divine embodiment of virtue and righteousness, created by the Primordial of dickery solely because he wanted to find out what would give him purpose. And boy, did he succeed there, as the Unconquered Sun saw that the Primordials were yoking Creation about and helped lead the struggle to overthrow them. His chosen, the Solar Exalted, are supposed to be like this... save for that little Great Curse thing.
- Sun gods in Dungeons and Dragons are generally always of a good alignment. Pelor from Greyhawk is Neutral Good, Lathander from the Forgotten Realms is Neutral Good. Amaunator, the defunct Netheril sun god, averted this trope by being Lawful Neutral, but upon being reinstated in the fourth edition (by fusing with Lathander) became Lawful Good.
- The white colour in Magic: The Gathering uses a sun for its symbol. It has by far the lion's share of cards concerning healing, protection, spells that disarm creatures or only destroy/remove creatures when they attack you, and creatures traditionally associated with good such as angels, knights in shining armour and honest soldiers. Depending on the block, white cards can just as easily make for Light Is Not Good, however.
- Both subverted and played straight with the Living Saints of Warhammer 40000. They are shining examples of all that's good about humanity, avatars of the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind, shining with light that causes most heretics to repent and desire to serve the Imperium, that fills the hearts of the faithful with unshakable courage and joy in serving the Emperor. Within the Imperium, almost universally accepted as unambiguously morally good, serving humanity selflessly in and out of combat and eventually sacrificing their lives for the good of the Imperium. Outside the Imperium, they're probably viewed no better than any other Imperial tool.
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
- Les Misérables (theatre) ensures in the end that "the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise". This is an echo of the prisoners lamenting in the beginning that "the sun is strong, it's hot as hell below".
- Dr. Light, the good scientist in Mega Man.
- The Light Side in Star Wars.
- Dungeons and Dragons celestials (and more light-oriented creatures) are always good (pre fourth edition).
- ...actually, any good angel in any story.
- Pre fourth edition
- ...actually, any good angel in any story.
- The arrows of light from the Zelda games. In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, the Light Spirits of the four springs, who aid you and who keep the land peaceful.
- This trope is sprinkled liberally throughout the games as a whole. Many of the climatic scenes involving Link use dramatic lighting to grand effect - just watch any of the Master Sword sequences. Probably most prominently displayed thematically in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, where Ganondorf's dark power has corrupted the Sacred Realm (a Golden Land where the Triforce once resided) and turned it into the dangerous and evil Dark World. Subverted somewhat in Twilight Princess.
- Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun and mother of all life, in Okami.
- "I know now, without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts is Light!"
- In Warhammer 40000, the Imperial forces continually invoke this trope with the light of the Emperor, stepping from the light of the Emperor, etc. The reality -- well, in Dan Abnett's Horus Heresy novel Horus Rising, Loken receives orders to "illuminate" which is to say kill a planet's emperor.
- Not quite this trope, as the Great Crusade in the Horus Heresy novels was about bringing humans all over space from the darkness of superstition and religion into the Emperor-given light of science and rationality.
- The power of the Holy Light from the Warcraft universe can only be used by good hearted people (among other lesser requisites), has the power to heal and damages undead and demons. Sure there are people who aren't precisely good, however, they are able to use it since it still works if you're good only in your own mind.
- In Alan Wake, light is so good that flashbang grenades are lethal against evil.
- The sheer brightness from the lighthouse in the second DLC "The Writer" is very much One-Hit Kill against the Taken. So as long the boulders are cleared out.
- In The Haunted Mansion video game, evil ghosts cannot inhabit a lit room. Every puzzle in the game is figuring out how to light up the current room.
- The first Fable has this in spades, with light clothing giving you good points and dark clothing giving you evil points, and good characters morphing to have lighter features. The sequels ease up on it, but it's still present.
- The Final Fantasy series uses this along with the brother trope
- The Warrior of Light.
- Final Fantasy III has the warriors of light, to contrast the equally heroic warriors of darkness.
- While Cecil Harvey originally followed the brother trope, he manages to redeem himself as a Paladin, originally being a Dark Knight.
- The white materia, Holy, in Final Fantasy VII, summoned by Aeris, is used to combat the Black Materia used by Sephiroth
- In Final Fantasy VIII, Rinoa Heartilly is associated with angel wings, being her limit break, nice contrast from Squall, The Hero dressed in Black.
- In Final Fantasy X, Yuna serves primarily as the heroine in a white/blue kimono. Her Summon Magic often involves light.
- Lux and Leona from League of Legends fit this to a T, the former having light based skills while the latter has sun-symbolism.
- Palutena of Kid Icarus is the good goddesses of light. Her sister, in contrast, is the evil goddesses of darkness. The Hero of the game is also rather light aligned with his own antagonistic Shadow Archetype to deal with, though he is aided by a shady Anti-Hero.
- Bird Boy: The great hero overcomes the villain to free the light again
- Sinfest: As radiant as God's light itself
- Stella from Winx Club gets her powers from the Sun (well, and the Moon, but mostly the Sun), and most of her attacks consist in casting beams of light.
- In Bionicle, every sentient character has a dark side and light side, representing of course good and evil. These could be tapped into, to obtain either light or shadow powers, and naturally, shadow is easier to master, and makes one corrupt. To those who have light or shadow powers from the get-go, obtaining the opposite "element" can prove difficult, since the two powers tend to cancel each other out.
- The Transformers' god, Primus, is often referred to as the "Lord of Light", and the Matrix of Leadership is meant to "light our darkest hour."
- While it's monstrously averted for the Horde, the title character of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power wears a white and gold dress and has flowing platinum hair.
- Light is very good in the world of Voltron: Legendary Defender:
- The Paladins of Voltron all wear a shiny white armor.
- King Alfor, and his daughter Princess Allura, both had white hair with Alfor wearing noble white and gold armor, contrasting Zarkon's darker red and purple.
- The main two spaceships of the Paladins, the Castle of Lions and the IGF Atlas, are also a bright white.
- Stars generate light, which is a necessity for plants and thus all living things connected to them. They also give infrared light as a form of heat for our planet, though radiation and UV rays can serve as a subversion.