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Basic Trope: A character who is a melancholic, brooding loner with a Dark and Troubled Past, and is flawed, yet sympathetic.

  • Straight: Bob is a broken-hearted loner with anger management problems, and a rather dark streak that makes the heroes wary of him. And yet the heroes show sympathy for him.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is a nihilistic, violent misanthropist who is a Complete Monster. And yet the heroes still show sympathy for him.
  • Justified: Bob's dark qualities are emotional armor, because he doesn't want to relive his Dark and Troubled Past again.
  • Inverted: Knight in Shining Armor
  • Subverted: Bob's brooding, dark exterior is a facade that belies a friendlier personality...
  • Double Subverted: ...he was having a good day.
  • Parodied: Over the course of a hot day, Bob, a man stuck in a soul-crushing job as a professional party inspector, sacrifices everything he ever held dear, including his home and his kill the man who took the last popsicle from the ice cream truck he missed.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob is a genuinely evil and dangerous character, not just misunderstood. His sympathetic traits blind the heroes (and the audience) to his true nature. Even when he crosses the Moral Event Horizon, people still believe that there is good in him and that he's really not that bad.
    • Bob knows that giving a false story about his backstory will make people sympathetic to him so he can do whatever he wants with the convenient excuse of said backstory.
  • Reconstructed: Then Bob goes too far, and realizes that his actions are causing the suffering of not just him, but those around him.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob switches between moods on a regular basis, going from being an idealistic and upstanding individual despite all he's been through, to being a vindictive, moody man, sometimes finding peace, only to go back to being wracked by internal conflict.
  • Averted: Bob has no more flaws than anyone else, and is not troubled.
  • Enforced: ?
  • Lampshaded: "There must be something biting you. Why the long face?"
  • Invoked: ?
  • Defied: "It was tragic that I ended up causing my sister's death, but I'm going to move on and become a genuinely good person, because that's what she would've wanted."
  • Discussed: "Bob sure has a lot of issues, doesn't he? So what is it about him that makes us like him?"
  • Conversed: ?

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