Redemption (trope)

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Redemption fics are often focused on the antagonist or villain of a fandom.

These works may examine canon events from a different perspective, justifying the antagonists' actions and providing an opportunity for the character to change their ways. These characters are often portrayed as committing villainous acts with good intentions, or in reaction to abuse, neglect or trauma they have suffered in the past. In some works the character is redeemed through their own death, as they sacrifice themselves for some greater good, or to save another character.


Some redemption fics also arise from shipping the villain with a hero, and may include the Enemies to Lovers trope.


In recent years, some fans have expressed their dislike of this trope when it is applied to certain characters. There are some who believe that some antagonists are not deserving of redemption arcs in canon or fanon works. However, other fans disagree with the notion of "deserving" a redemption arc or not, as they see it as different from being forgiven and as something a character has to work for, and that anyone can work to redeem themselves.

Redemption fics are often criticized for being OOC or for woobifying dark characters.

Commonly Redeemed Characters

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Spike was often redeemed or shown capable of redemption in fanfic. This was initially a controversial trope, with many fans believing the souless vampire was incapable of Redemption, and should remain a villain. See Redemtionistas vs. Evil!Spike for more information.

Harry Potter

  • Characters like Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy are often the focus on redemption fics in this fandom, with many works written before the book series had concluded.

Star Wars

  • Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker redemption fics have been around for a long time.
  • Kylo Ren redemption fics are common, but controversial among some fans. These works are often tagged as Bendemption or Rendemption stories.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Loki is often redeemed in fanworks.
  • Erik Killmonger is often portrayed as a sympathetic character in fanworks. Many fix-its are also redemption fics, wherein Erik survives and finds redemption in Wakanda.

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