TheChessmaster YKTTW Discussion
Do we have any villain category for the master of manipulation? The one who rarely gets his own hands dirty, preferring to tug at the strings of those around him just so and watch everything fall into place. The Xanatos Gambit is his modus operandi against the heroes, but he'll delude whomever's handy: anonymous tips to the cops, casual hints dropped that Bob is up to something (when it's really this guy), etc. The closest example I can find to this one is the Magnificent Bastard, but there are plenty of examples in there that don't manipulate at all. (That trope in general seems to be more about whether they do whatever they do with so much style the audience wants to cheer for them: this often means clever manipulation schemes, but not always, and some manipulators are too cruel or sloppy to qualify.) The Villain with Good Publicity is also close but really a subcategory of this, as someone whom no one knows exists can also manipulate effectively (and be more untraceable after the fact).