• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Laconic: Intimidation techniques work better for evil characters than good characters.

In many philosophies, one of the most important qualities of a good person is mercy, even to enemies. One of the ways to contrast the heroes and villains is through the fear that villains inspire in others. The characters know that the villains are not above torture or retaliating against innocent loved ones, and for that reason they are much more cautious about crossing the villains than the heroes.

This often results from the assumption on the part of the characters that Good Is Impotent, when it might be the case that Good Is Not Nice or Good Is Not Soft after all.

On some occasions, this trope can work to the advantage of the heroes. If they have a reputation for being merciful, enemies might be more willing to surrender to them. (This might be a separate trope.)

Examples of Good Isn't Scary include:


  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a band of Death Eaters runs amok at the Quidditch World Cup, while the Ministry tries in vain to control them. Once an unknown party conjures the sign of their former master Voldemort, they immediately flee, fearing the punishment they'd get for denouncing him after he fell.

Television - Live-Action

  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Maquis Part II", Captain Sisko and Gul Dukat go to investigate rumors that the Cardassian state has been smuggling weapons to their colonies in the demilitarized zone, using a free traders as an intermediary. When they encounter such a ship, Sisko's polite request to allow them to search it is met with refusal. Dukat then forcefully demands that the captain comply on threat of death, with much greater success.

Video Games

  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the player character can get hired by the NCR to interrogate a captured officer of Caesar's Legion. The prisoner has been extremely uncooperative due to his knowledge that he's protected by the NCR's laws against torture. The best solution to this quest is to convince him you were sent by the Legion to punish him for allowing himself to be captured. Doing so immediately inspires panic and indignation in him, and in speaking in his own defence he accidentally reveals information on several topics of interest to the NCR.