Turncoats, deceivers, double agents, and no good saboteurs; No one likes a traitor, unless of course they’re betraying the bad guys, then it’s fine I guess. We’re here once more to share with you our Top 10, where this week we’re looking at the Traitor. A powerful plot device, a great way to further a story – But all in all, always something you least expect… Or at least, we hope you didn’t see all of these traitors coming, as otherwise you may have been disappointed by the writers choices to make them traitors in the first place! Anyway, here’s our list for this week!
10) Aeryn Sun – Farscape
The Peacekeepers are a militaristic wing of the Sebacean species, mercenaries who have grown to enforce their own laws. Aeryn was amongst the most loyal and ruthless of the lot, but machinations of fate leave her in the company of fugitives, unable to bring them in and presumed a traitor when she tries to defend the man-out-of-place John Crichton. In the end she falls in with the rag tag band of minor criminals to become one of their greatest allies.
From the outside of her former military upbringing she learns to see the corruption within and the tyranny they enforce, eventually becoming the very traitor she’d been branded as by her superiors. While she fights off her feelings for Crichton she assists with the destruction of Peacekeeper facilities and upturns the plans of the madman Scorpius, but her emotions often pull her loyalties.
9) Zuko and Iroh – Avatar: the Last Airbender
One of the more emotional character arcs in Avatar has to be the story of antagonist turned anti-hero, the young Fire Nation exile Prince Zuko and his disgraced but wise uncle Iroh. Iroh has already learned his lessons, through his military campaigns both successful and failed, and the loss of his son, he has already been humbled by life. Zuko on the other hand is still hurt deeply by his own exile, literally wearing its shame for the world to see.
Zuko strives to return to the fold, despite the machinations of his sadistic sister and the apathy of his father. His hunt for the Avatar sends him around the world, but their interactions force a change in him, a shift in perspective. When he rejoins the Fire Nation everything takes a shift for the worst, and eventually starts hunting the Avatar again, to help bring down his father, and reign in the Fire Nation’s tyranny.
8) Cypher – The Matrix
A bigger upset than the sequels, Cypher forced us to ask ourselves the question, “Is an awful truth better or worse than a comfortable illusion?” In exchange for selling out the last glimmer of humanity Cypher is offered the chance to be plugged back into the Matrix and to delude himself into believing that he has lived a happy life.
His treachery betrays the vulnerability he’d burden himself with, because from outside the Matrix it is a simple task to simply switch off someone’s life on a whim, while their friends look on in horror as bodies fall. We should know better than to expect trustworthiness from Joe Pantoliano in… anything, but still, Cypher turning on the rest of the Nebuchadnezzar crew was a chilling moment that raised some interesting philosophical questions.
7) Griffith – Berserk
This one I think came out of the blue for a lot of us. The only clue we had to Griffith’s corruption was the weird demonic amulet he carried around his neck, the Crimson Behelit, the Egg of the King. Though Griffith is a lovely person, who unties a bunch of renegades and kids, teaches them to fight and how to get by in a world that’s tearing itself apart, it’s ultimately him who brings about a reign of demons and nightmares.
During the eclipse he goes from the loving, angelic man, who laments the deaths of war, and strives for such wondrous things as a world of peace, and becomes an agent of evil itself, freed oh empathy and inhibition and given wholly to his desires of a world brought under his heel. And why not, he has already climbed to ascension on a mountain of corpses, only to be cast down and reduced to a broken shell for the crime of aspiration. The very least the world can do is worship him as an angel.
6) Saruman – Lord of the Rings
This one is relatively self-explanatory, but if you’ve never seen Lord of the Rings, or read the books, then here’s what you need to know.
Saruman was a deeply wise, powerful wizard, who would stand as Gandalf the Grey’s greater. He was chief of the wizards and of the White Council, which was opposed to the dark lord Sauron. Saruman the White as he became known, was one of the Maiar; a powerful group of spirits-turned-wizard who were sent to Middle-Earth to help shape it through the Third age. As he was opposed to Sauron, he was going to try to gain his trust and then betray him to try and put an end to the war.
Well, you know, things don’t always go as planned, as Saruman began to get the thirst for power himself. He began to realise the power of the One Ring, wanting its power for himself. This would ultimately become his undoing, as he betrays both sides in hopes to obtain personal power.
5) Ursula – The Little Mermaid
Ursula makes her second ever appearance in our Top 10‘s, this time as one of the most trecherous characters from the Disney Villains range. She starts off seemingly with good intentions for our heroine Ariel; enabling her ideas and lifestyle choices, by offering her opportunities to go and live with that handsome man on the surface, much to the chagrin of Sebastian who sings a wonderful tale of how much better it is down where it is wetter. However, Ariel disregards all of the negative comments and wants to go through with Ursula’s plan – She must receive her first kiss from prince Eric within three days, or she’ll have to return to the sea and be bound to Ursula.
So Ursula then betrays her completely! Even though Ursula uses her powerful magic to help Ariel out, turning Ariel into a human, she also transformed herself into a beautiful woman called Vanessa. So, Vanessa vows to make Eric marry her, so that Ariel can not get her first kiss, be bound to Ursula and then to use this as the perfect bargaining tool against King Triton, so that she can take over the throne. It’s a heck of a plan, incredibly evil, incredibly traitorous. Ariel was distraught thanks to having trusted her elder, seemingly wise supposed friend.
4) Lando Calrissian vs Darth Vader – Star Wars
This is one that’s set to divide the fans – On the one hand, we have Lando Calrissian, who was a smuggler and a card game player. He was also a pretty decent man over all, who would lose his ship, namely the Millennium Falcon, to Han Solo in a card game in which Han potentially cheated in. He became a relatively respectable business man (his words, not ours), but he also became very attune to his people. He would betray Han and the rebels down the line, to protect his people – Which is something that he only did to help his own. But, it was a huge hindrance to the rebels… But then later, he turned back on the empire, by saving Han and the rebels. Double turns!
Then we have Darth Vader himself, who is also really well known for turning on people. Let’s face it: He was one very evil guy, but he wasn’t always this way – He was Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One. He was one of the most powerful Jedi, but then later became an even more powerful Sith Lord. When he was able to embrace the hate, he became way more powerful. He became aware of the trecherous nature of the Emperor, whom he had joined on the Dark Side and ends up betraying him. So basically, much like Lando, Vader is known for doing the old double turn on his allies.
But which is the best traitor in Star Wars?
3) Arthas – Warcraft 3
“Succeeding you, father”
It’s one of the most memorable and grisly scenes from the entirety of Warcraft 3, and even though he’s still evil in World of Warcraft, or even beyond Warcraft 3 (into The Frozen Throne), his traitorous nature only comes about in Warcraft 3. Before and after, he’s viciously loyal to whichever cause he’s supporting – But before we go into all that, let us give you an incredibly quick history lesson about this guy and what his turning point was.
At the start of Warcraft 3, we meet Arthas Menethil, a young Paladin who wanted nothing more but to put a stop to the evil of the Scourge plague that was taking over his homeland of Lordaeron. He was a light filled warrior, who was incredibly skilled at defending the people he loved. But the Scourge invasion was a deadly one, costing the lives of many. Arthas and his mentor and friend, Uther, travelled to Stratholme to try and stop a contaminated shipment of grain from getting to them. By the time they arrived, it was too late and people were going to slowly turn into undead Scourge. Arthas demanding Uther and crew kill everyone in Stratholme to stop the plague from spreading further, but Uther disagreed. Arthas then went on and did it himself, working to slay everyone and burning Stratholm down.
After this, Arthas followed the Dreadlord Mal’Ganis to Northrend, to put an end to the nightmare of the Scourge. Upon reaching Northrend, Arthas met up with his friend Muradin through mere co-incidence. It was following this that he found the runeblade Frostmourne and paid any price, which happened to be the life of Muradin. Whilst Arthas wanted to help his friend, the blade told him otherwise. He went on to find Mal’Ganis and slew the demon. He then marched on north into the frozen lands – letting the rest of his crew die and himself losing his own sanity in the process. Upon returning to Lordaeron, Arthas killed his father and begun to change it from the tremendous stronghold it used to be, into a breeding ground for the damned. The reign of the Death Knight begins.
2) Gaius “Fracking” Baltar – Battlestar Galactica
Baltar undergoes one hell of a transformation across the series. His wicked deeds begin rather unwittingly, as a puppet of the Cylon who would become known as Caprica-6. His love for her drove him to grow lax about military secrets, allowing the machines to obliterate all but a sliver of human life. After that, as a member of the refugee fleet he remains a Cylon puppet… of sorts.
Trusted scientist, political leader, spiritual guru, but all along a bizarre lunatic guided by voices in his brain that manifest as the woman – the machine he loved. He was the first to learn that there were human-models hidden in the fleet, the prophetic “Final Five”, but he also leaked that information to the fleet. Was he a double agent, always destined to unite the two peoples and bring them together on a new world?
Personally, I doubt it, he was still the guy who eradicated the human species for a pretty face. Interesting character though.
1) Severus Snape – Harry Potter
No Timlah, no Joel, he wasn’t a traitor, he did it for the goodies all along! He was a good guy, he really was. Dumbledore told him to do it, oh my god, please do not put him as the number one traitor! But actually, this conflicting emotion you may be pulling up right now is exactly why he deserves our number one traitor slot. We knew he was a shifty guy, Harry more or less didn’t trust him throughout, but then at the end he stole our hearts after stabbing us in the back.
One of the hardest acts of a traitor, is being able to strike twice. Fool me once, shame on you – Fool me twice and what are you doing to us?! Severus Snape betrayed everyone, he killed Dumbledore, that much is certain… But he did so as Dumbledore told him to do it. He was a death eater, he was one of those horrible, murderous wizards… And yet, he didn’t do it out of malice. He wasn’t aligned with the Dark Lord because he was an evil guy. No, instead, he was an insider – He was the right man who had to face the horrible consequences of defying not just the school, but Voldemort himself.
Severus Snape is a hero.
But he’s also a traitor.
No name in the whole of the wizarding world is as traitorous as Severus Snape. But equally, there are few names in the wizarding world that are as heroic.
“… And with that, I stuck my dagger into his back!”
Oh hi there, I didnt’ see you had finished with our Top 10 list so soon! Well uh, let’s pretend you didn’t hear me say that and we’ll show you two more picks, who didn’t quite make the cut, but certainly aren’t a bad shot in the dark!
Elsa Schneider – Indiana Jones
When the Indiana Jones films were commonplace in the cinema, we were accustomed to all sorts of shenanigans. One of the things we had to get used to however, was a blonde lady named Elsa Schneider in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. She was the lover of Dr. Henry Jones, who then turned on him and then attempted to do the exact same thing to his son, Indiana Jones. But, that’s not the only problem this lady causes.
See, she’s a Nazi – Which is a heck of a claim, but no, really, she was a Nazi (at least by allegiance). Her whole purpose in this film is to try and get the Holy Grail, through any means necessary and to deliver it to Adolf Hitler. You know, the more I think about it, the weirder these Indiana Jones films really were. However, whilst she was the lover of Dr. Jones, he found out about her evil ways when she said, in her sleep “heil Hitler”… I mean if that doesn’t raise suspicions, I guess absolutely nothing will.
Browncoats – Firefly
“Traitor” is such an ugly word, when used to describe rebels it seems almost rude. They only want to live their lives their way without interference from powerful governing forces. So how do you compromise the need for individuality and personal agency with the inherent human instinct to form societies? You unite in rebellion against the empire that’s stepping on your neck and oppressing your freedoms.
The forces of the rebellion may have failed, but Browncoats across the ‘Verse aren’t done fighting back, smugglers and acts of sabotage, betrayal and deceit help ensure that the good people on the edges of the massive star system are well catered to and left in peace as far as possible, a few of life’s essentials the Alliance seems to have neglected. It may not be nice to describe the Browncoats and the crew of the Serenity as traitors, but it’s still accurate.
Everyone, put your daggers away, we’re done for another day. So don’t forget to hide the bodies you’ve left in your wake and let your friends know that it’s okay to come out again now (whoever your friends now are). Your allegiance may have shifted, but ultimately you know what you’re doing. You in this for the long haul and we are too – As we need your cunning and expertise to choose next weeks Top 10.
That’s it then, we’re done for another week. Hopefully we’ll have listed the best traitors that you can think of, as otherwise there’s been another deception in this list: Our deceptive misuse of your trust to get this right! But of course, we’re a fair website – We like to hear from you. Who do you think deserves to make this list? Did we get this right, or have we forgotten some important traitors? Did we get our order right; is Snape the greatest traitor of all? As always, share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.