In order to obtain the soul gem, Red Skull specifies that someone you love must be sacrificed — a soul for a soul. Thanos accomplishes this by sacrificing Gamora to the pit.

However, Gamora herself (who knows more about Thanos than anyone), says that there is no one Thanos truly loves.

So why did Thanos' sacrifice of Gamora work?

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    Also, it wasn't Gamora's sacrifice it was Thanos'. Gamora was sacrificed..she didn't give anything up. – Paulie_D May 9 '18 at 15:39
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    Also As i said here - "Gamora was convinced that Thanos couldn't love anyone and this would be the fatal flaw in his quest. Then she realises, in the same instant, that she's both wrong (and he does love her..and is quite possibly the only thing he loves) and he's going to kill her anyway!" – Paulie_D May 9 '18 at 15:41
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    @PaulD.Waite I don't have any specific citation - just my personal experience being adopted – ilikechairs May 14 '18 at 15:29
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    as an adoptive parent that also has biological children, I'd disagree with the premise (but respect OP's experience and opinion). I won't vote to close, but I do think the question could still be valid with the opinion on adoption removed, as there is nothing in universe that is meant to imply that biological / adoptive love is any different. In other words, Gamora's statement would be true in her opinion regardless of her status. Additionally, that the sacrifice does work implies her judgment is incorrect - and that he does love her, Thanos is still a sociopath willing to sacrifice her – NKCampbell Sep 10 '18 at 14:21
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    This question is being discussed on Meta: scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12061/… – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Sep 11 '18 at 13:10

It worked because Thanos loved Gamora - and you can tell Thanos loved Gamora because it worked.

Gamora is a less reliable indicator of Thanos' love than the Soul Stone. Thanos would not be the first parent (biological or adopted) whose "tough love" alienated the child, despite having genuine feelings of love for that child... the fact that she hates him does not preclude him loving her.

The scene

following the Snapocalypse, where Thanos met a young Gamora in a Soul Stone-tinted setting, seems to indicate that the Soul Stone has access to Thanos' inner thoughts, and perhaps to Gamora's as well

which suggests that the Soul Stone had the information it needed to truthfully judge whether Thanos met its requirement of sacrificing a loved one. Lacking any reason to believe the Stone's test was anything other than what was stated, we must conclude that Thanos loved Gamora.

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