“This is why you’ll never win against us! No matter how skilled, how smart, or how powerful you become, you will never understand the value of friendship!”

– The popular kids, as they shove a nerd into a locker

What always bothers me about the “Friendship Conquers All” trope is that the villains of these plots seem to have no idea of the value of fostering personal relationships. It falls under the general idea of “Evil does not understand love,” but come on, these villains are usually people who have ascended to the highest echelons of authority and power – no one acquires that much influence without at least being able to fake personal connections to others. Somehow, these evil overlords have been able to maintain a vast network of alliance and loyalty through nothing but fear, all of which is inevitably torn down when the plucky protagonist makes them realize, “Wait a minute, this guy’s a huge asshole and I literally gain nothing through association with him!” Very rarely do I see the villain’s followers say something like, “Actually, he’s been really good to us – he’s been nothing but generous and kind to the people who know him.”

– James