Fantasy films, in all their supernatural excess, can sometimes be quite predictable. They tend to feature recurring archetypes such as, most broadly, the hero and the villain. Beyond these often simplistic categories, there are more specific characters, in this case, the betrayer.
The betrayer thrives on their ability to keep their true goals hidden until the moment after they succeed. These characters, though exciting, are not always successful in their ruse, at least from the audience’s perspective. Sometimes, their true intentions are clear because the film is a prequel, which is common in the fantasy genre. Other betrayers are so obvious in their intentions that it is more about learning why the protagonist doesn’t suspect anything.
10/10 Gawain Is Not Prepared For The Road
When Gawain, nephew of King Arthur and protagonist of The Green Knight, is sent out from Camelot to complete his quest, he is a naive boy educated by stories of his uncle’s adventures. He quickly comes upon the remnants of a battlefield, where he is joined by a young man making his way through the corpses, searching for valuables.
Gawain follows directions given by this man only to later be assaulted by him and his companions. The young man from Camelot was quick to put his trust in the young man, or at least in his own ability to defend himself. This early scene sets the tone for the rest of Gawain’s journey to learn about his reality, filled with deep symbolism.
9/10 Selene Should Never Have Trusted Viktor
Viktor, one of three Vampire elders and the ultimate threat of Underworld, is, according to Selene, her greatest ally as she investigates corruption in her organization. He was the one who took her in after her parents were killed and mentored her in the life of a Death Dealer, a Vampire Warrior.
Selene is not worried about the corruption she uncovers over the course of the film, because her only goal has become to wake Viktor and have him fix things. Her heavy reliance on the man, as well as how widespread the corruption is, are clear indicators that Viktor would not be her savior, but rather the one behind all of her suffering.
8/10 Dorian Gray Is The Only Non-Tragic Character
Though based on a beloved comic, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a few problems, and the predictability of its betrayal twist is just one of them. The film’s cast is filled with figures from late 19th-century literature in an early attempt at the superhero team-up.
One member, Dorian Gray, is revealed to be a mole placed in the team by the film’s villain, Professor Moriarty. He is notably separate from the rest of his team in temperament. There are four members of the team with supernatural abilities, but the others, a vampire, the invisible man, and the hulking Mr. Hyde, all view their abilities as curses on some level. Gray delights in his immortality and is hungry for more riches.
7/10 Hans Is A Fun But Predictable Third Act Villain
Frozen is praised for flipping the usual Disney princess paradigm. Instead of the usual “love at first sight” type of story, it focuses on the love between sisters. While it does feature a classic prince character Hans, he turns out to be the final villain of the film.
While Hans and Anna are introduced as falling in love at first sight, the shallowness of this connection becomes clear the moment she meets Kristoff. While Hans always says the perfect thing, Kristoff is honest. Anna’s quest together with the iceman to save her sister clearly sets him up as the real romantic prospect, which means that, narratively, there must be something else to Hans.
6/10 Scar Is Clearly Coded As Evil
The Lion King is an excellent film for a million reasons, but one of the big ones is the scene of Scar’s betrayal of his brother Mufasa. Though the scene is iconic, especially the moment Scar lets Mufasa drop, it’s hardly a shock.
Film can be an unsubtle medium, and character designs can give away a character’s inner thoughts. For Scar, this comes in the form of his namesake facial scar, a classic sign of villainy. If a viewer combines that with Mufasa’s explicit discomfort with Scar spending time with Simba, Scar’s betrayal becomes obvious.
5/10 It’s Rare To Not Know Anakin’s Future
If the original Star Wars trilogy chronicles Luke Skywalker’s rise to Jedi Knight, the prequels are about his father Anakin’s descent into villainy. One of the shortcomings of the prequel movies is that the original trilogy established Anakin Skywalker as Darth Vader almost 20 years before the character’s young version was introduced.
Every scene of the prequels featuring Anakin comes off with an odd undertone because viewers know where his story leads. There are no real surprises in this version of the character, just an effort to make his backstory clear. The only real shock of his betrayal is how easily he flips sides when he actually joins the Sith.
4/10 Thor Should Never, Ever Trust Loki
By the time Thor: The Dark World comes around, Thor has already faced his brother Loki as a foe twice, in Thor and The Avengers. Loki is quite clear about why he keeps betraying his family; the God of Mischief is meant for greater things.
Thor believes that after Frigga’s murder, Loki’s love for their mother is enough to compel him to be trustworthy. He seriously underestimates his brother’s nature, and Loki fakes his death before the final conflict. The MCU’s original Loki is a selfish man obsessed with his own legend. Loki is also smart enough not to pick a fight with the wielder of an Infinity Stone with only his brother as backup.
3/10 Ursula Makes Betrayal Look Cool
The fear that King Triton expresses to his daughter Ariel in The Little Mermaid, that she is far too naive to experience the surface world, is largely true. Its only flaw is that he underestimates the dangers of the sea. In a dark cave lurks the obviously villainous Ursula, the sea witch.
Ursula is a mysterious magical being, living in darkness, offering to give out wishes in exchange for signing a magical contract. She could not be more clearly evil. Her song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” begins with her acknowledging her past as a witch, then explains how she’s a magical loan shark. She most strongly serves as a device for showing that Triton’s concerns for his daughter are well-founded.
2/10 Norrington Loved Being In The Navy
When James Norrington returns in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, he has lost his position as Commodore and all the glory that goes with it. He is a filthy drunk, so unrecognizable in his shame that he fits in with the rest of Jack Sparrow’s crew. Even though in his most desperate moment, Norrington briefly serves under Jack Sparrow, his loyalty is clearly never given.
Norrington hates Sparrow, and it is clear that he blames the pirate for his downfall. When given the opportunity to hand the Dead Man’s Chest over to the East India Trading Company and regain his station, his plans are never in doubt.
1/10 Gollum’s Loyalty Was A Brief Exception
Gollum, the troubled creature from The Lord of the Rings, is central to the final conflict in the film. While the forces of Man and Sauron meet outside the gates of Mordor, Frodo approaches his goal. At that moment, he gives in to the One Ring and decides to keep it. Just then, Gollum bites his finger off to claim it as his prize.
Gollum had a tough life and spent centuries under the sway of the One Ring. It’s really no surprise that he would assault Frodo at the last moment. Gollum is a devious creature despite his simple speech. He first attempts to separate and feed the Hobbits to a giant spider, so his final attack is no shock.
NEXT: 10 Superheroes Who Can’t Help Dating Supervillains