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Synonyms: grovel!fic, apologyfic
See also: character bashing, OOC, You Big Bully!
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Grovelfic is a type of fanfic in which character A realizes that they have treated character B unfairly or not appreciated them enough, and "reforms" or apologizes profusely (i.e. "grovels"), usually because the author favors character B and sides strongly with their viewpoint in conflicts or events that happened in canon. It is often a fix-it story for a particular episode, but can also grow out of a more long term dissatisfaction with character dynamics in canon.

Sentinel fanart by PeeJ in Missing Links #2, featuring Blair Sandburg and Jim Ellison -- "You were RIGHT! I was WRONG!"

Grovelfic is usually not a self-applied label, but used by others who feel the characters are mischaracterized in a story.

Grovelfic is very closely related to apologyfic. Another related genre is the accusation fic. However, these genres are more concerned with seeing a hated character punished for their misdeeds than with obtaining justice for the favorite.


The terms grovelfic and apologyfic were both coined by Rachael Sabotini, in her 1999 essay You Big Bully!

The term seems to have been popular in 2000s LiveJournal, but not on Tumblr.[1]

Fanfic Examples

  • In Stargate Atlantis fandom, the Post-Trinity Phenomenon thematic list compiled by iibnf includes quite a few examples of grovelfic.
  • Deprivation by chaps1870, another example of Stargate Atlantis grovelfic in which Rodney McKay is blamed and shunned by everyone for something that isn't his fault
  • In Starsky & Hutch fandom, post-'Starsky vs. Hutch' grovelfic in which Hutch begs for Starsky's forgiveness for sleeping with Starsky's girlfriend are extremely common. Unusually, several of these do not take place after the episode, but in the gap between the third act and the tag, where it is clear that Starsky and Hutch have reconciled offscreen but there is no canon mention of what the reconciliation entailed. These also are usually more substantial than your standard grovelfic, as most of them also contain an explanation for what led Hutch to commit an act many fans considered OOC and with inadequately explained motives in the episode.
  • There are many grovelfics in The Sentinel fandom with Jim as the groveler and Blair as the grovelee (see image), usually with reference to a few specific canon incidents.
  • In fanfic for the 2012 Marvel's The Avengers movie, grovelfic with nearly every possible permutation of the six main characters (and occasionally Nick Fury or various supporting characters too) as groveler/grovelee apologizing and taking blame for one of the many, many arguments and misunderstandings in the film abounded on the avengerkink kink meme, to the point of irritating many members.
  • A good chunk of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfics based on the second season finale, A Canterlot Wedding, has the main character's friends and family apologize to her for dismissing her concerns towards an evil queen disguised as her future sister-in-law.
  • Common in Xander-centric Buffy fanfic based on the eposode "The Zeppo," in which Xander is excluded from the apparent main plot but stumbles into and deals with another crisis; in canon nobody else ever knows, in fanfic everyone else usually finds out and feels compelled to make a grovelling apology. Usually combined with Buffy-bashing.

Meta/Further Reading


  1. Performed searches on 4 December 2017: Tumblr yielded no results, and Dreamwidth yielded 15+ results, mostly from posts imported from LiveJournal.