Created By: WaxingName on May 15, 2012 Last Edited By: WaxingName on June 4, 2012
Troped

Chaos is Evil

The word "chaos" and themes associated with it are associated with the bad guys.

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Main
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Trope
There's the age-old battle of good vs evil, and then there's Order vs. Chaos, but that doesn't mean there's always a distinction.

Chaos generally means the opposite of order, and order is often associated with peaceful, and therefore, good things like tolerance and cooperation. Chaos is, therefore, often associated with non-peaceful things like war and mindless killing. [[hottip:Note:The definition of "chaos" as disorder wasn't the original meaning. The original meaning of "chaos" was "void".]]

For this reason, you can often find the theme of chaos associated with villains. Villains fulfill this trope by speaking of chaos or maybe having "chaos" as part of their name.

Don't confuse with Chaotic Evil.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh!!, where Chaos tends to denote the power of light and darkness combined. Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL also has the Chaos Numbers, upgraded forms of existing Number monsters.
  • In Digimon, the digimons with "Chaos" in their names generally are evil. ChaosDukemon is a corrupted Dukemon, ChaosDramon is a violent and destructive mechanical dragon, the three Chaos Generals(ChaosGreymon, ChaosSeadramon and ChaosPiemon) and the Chaos Lord are villains in Digimon World 2, and Lucemon's mode change was named "Chaos Mode" in the Digimon Frontier dub.

Comic Books
  • In PS238 the forces of Chaos and the forces of Order are portrayed as Demons and Angels, respectively. Though neither side is particularly welcome on earth.

Film-Live Action

Literature
  • Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. The forces of Chaos almost always acted in a Chaotic Evil manner, and the adherents of Law were portrayed as Lawful Good (especially when fighting Chaos). It wasn't absolutely stated as being this way - it was noted that absolute Law led to stasis and sterility and a certain amount of Chaos was necessary for creativity and change.
  • In The Kane Chronicles, the main conflict is Order vs. Chaos, first with Card-Carrying Villain Set representing chaos for The Red Pyramid, and then with Apophis, Ra's arch-nemesis and the God of Chaos, stepping in as the Bigger Bad for the rest of the trilogy.
  • L. E. Modesitt's Recluce series has order magic and chaos magic, with the good guys typically practicing black magic and the bad guys practicing white magic. The colors are based upon the complete absence of light (void, perfect order) or the presence of all kinds of light (making white, and chaos). The series recognized that chaos and order didn't necessarily line up with good and evil, recognizing either extreme was bad, but chaos magic causes lots of harm unless the practitioner is very careful. And being careful means being orderly.

Live Action TV
  • On Get Smart the bad guys are KAOS,
    • Also, the good guys are CONTROL... a synonym for law.
  • Inverted in the short-lived Chaos where the title is the nickname of the good guy's litte group in the CIA.

Music
  • In the Emerald Sword saga by the Rhapsody of Fire band, the hordes of the evil king Akron are costantly associated with chaos, while the heroes are associated with "wisdom".

Tabletop Games
  • One of the most glaring instances of this trope in fiction is Chaos from Warhammer and Warhammer40000.
  • The original version of Dungeons & Dragons had three major alignments: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Since many bad guys (such as orcs, dragons, demons, undead etc.) were on the side of Chaos, it wasn't long before "Chaotic" was equated with "Evil." The nine alignment system that has become associated with D&D was an attempt to mitigate this, as not everyone who is Lawful is necessarily good, and not everyone who's Chaotic is necessarily evil. This of course, brought its own little host of problems.
    • 4e changes the nine-alignment grid system with a linear, five-alignment system. In order, the different alignments are Lawful Good, Good, Neutral, Evil, and Chaotic Evil, with the implication that Lawful Good is more "Good" than regular Good, and Chaotic Evil is more "Evil" than regular Evil.
  • In the Glorantha setting of Runequest Chaos itself is neutral (being the void outside the universe) but its manifestations within the universe tend strongly towards evil due to their twisting of reality's rules.
  • Subverted in the Palladium RPG system, where the "most evil" alignment is "Diabolic", which is similar to D&D's Chaotic Evil, but the "most chaotic" alignment, "Anarchist" is considered selfish in the sense of being a hedonist, but isn't considered evil.
  • Zig-Zagged in The Battle For Wesnoth. The game has only one alignment axis (Lawful, Neutral, Liminal, and Chaotic); most of the evil creatures (undead, necromancers, orcs, bandits) are Chaotic. However, Chaotic creatures aren't necessarily bad -- for example, you can recruit thieves while playing as the decidedly good Konrad, and the outlaw campaign (Liberty) features a band of freedom fighters which are all represented in-game as Chaotic units (specifically, Chaotic humans).

Video Games

Web Comics
  • In the webcomic 8-Bit Theatre (a parody of Final Fantasy I), the main characters are told that their task is to defeat chaos, leading Black Mage to go on an angry rant about this trope (before calming down when it's explained that's just the villain's name).
    I refuse to take part in an adventure that is metaphysically rooted in the destruction of an abstract and artificial concept like chaos simply because connotatively speaking it's less desirable than the equally artificial term 'order'.
    When will you people learn that these are merely patterns that our temporal minds have made for us in a desperate attempt to make sense of an unimaginably immense and impersonal universe?
    Order, chaos, these are words for things we don't even understand. Chaos is not something you fight against, order is not something you protect. They have no more power or importance than that which we give them.
    And I, for one, will not perpetuate this asinine paradigm that there is something inherently wrong about chaos!
  • El Goonish Shive. The character Pandora Chaos Raven is an immortal with a highly chaotic nature (e.g.her cloud form constantly shifts and changes) who says she's going to destroy our world and replace it with another one. She has also tried to have several human beings killed.
    • Pandora merely punched Magus away; also, he's the only one who calls her "Chaos". She tried to get Abe killed -- but it's not that she haven't an understandable reason to be very upset.
  • Inverted: Last Res0rt has the tagline "Embrace Cha0s", with the implication that the Celeste and the Church of the Endless represent a repressive version of Order.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • May 15, 2012
    Alvin
    On Get Smart (the original TV show and I think all other incarnations) the bad guys are KAOS,
  • May 15, 2012
    Grahami
    One of the most glaring instances of this trope in fiction is Chaos from Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.
  • May 15, 2012
    Bisected8
    • The Big Bad of the original Final Fantasy is called Chaos.
    • In the webcomic Eight Bit Theatre (a parody of Final Fantasy), the main characters are told that their task is to defeat chaos, leading Black Mage to go on an angry rant about this trope (before calming down when it's explained that's just the villain's name).
      I refuse to take part in an adventure that is metaphysically rooted in the destruction of an abstract and artificial concept like chaos simply because connotatively speaking it's less desirable than the equally artificial term 'order'.
      When will you people learn that these are merely patterns that our temporal minds have made for us in a desperate attempt to make sense of an unimaginably immense and impersonal universe?
      Order, chaos, these are words for things we don't even understand. Chaos is not something you fight against, order is not something you protect. They have no more power or importance than that which we give them.
      And I, for one, will not perpetuate this asinine paradigm that there is something inherently wrong about chaos!
  • May 15, 2012
    RubyMoon
    Chaos is the Big Bad of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, being responsible for corrupting Galaxia and the Manga explicitly states the earlier Big Bads (Metallia, Death Phantom, Pharaoh 90, and Nehelania) were, in a way, themselves manifestations of Chaos.
  • May 15, 2012
    chicagomel
    Sonic The Hedgehog had the evil Chaos Emeralds. (Video games)

    ''Buffy The Vampire Slayer had chaos worshipper Ethan Rayne, who caused trouble every time he came around. (Live Action TV)
  • May 15, 2012
    sgamer82
    Do the Chaos Emeralds really count as "Evil"? I always understood them to be neutral at worst.
  • May 15, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    • The original version of Dungeons And Dragons had three major alignments: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Since many bad guys (such as orcs, dragons, demons, undead etc.) were on the side of Chaos, it wasn't long before "Chaotic" was equated with "Evil." The nine alignment system that has become associated with D&D was an attempt to mitigate this, as not everyone who is Lawful is necessarily good, and not everyone who's Chaotic is necessarily evil. This of course, brought its own little host of problems.
    • Adventure Quest Worlds has Good and Evil joining forces to battle Drakath, the Champion of Chaos, and his 13 Lords of Chaos.
  • May 15, 2012
    aurora369
    Warhammer 40000. To be fair, everyone there is evil to some degree, but Chaos takes the cake.
  • May 16, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. The forces of Chaos almost always acted in a Chaotic Evil manner, and the adherents of Law were portrayed as Lawful Good (especially when fighting Chaos). It wasn't absolutely stated as being this way - it was noted that absolute Law led to stasis and sterility and a certain amount of Chaos was necessary for creativity and change.
  • May 16, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • Fire Emblem Tellius: The goddess of chaos has been imprisoned in Lehran's medallion for centuries, and if she breaks loose, it it prophesied that the world will be destroyed. Subverted, it turns out that the goddess of chaos actually is rather kind, while the opposing goddess of order is a Well Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar.
  • May 17, 2012
    Ryusui
  • May 17, 2012
    MagBas
    Only noting a thing not mentioned in the description: "chaos" being used as "disorder" is something relatively recent. Their original meaning is "void"
  • May 17, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^I tried to put that info in a hottip, but it's not working. Is there a problem with the hottip system?
  • May 17, 2012
    nitrokitty
    ^ hottips don't work in YKTTW for whatever reason, it'll look normal once it's launched.
  • May 17, 2012
    Ghilz
    • Every Ogre Battle game except the first. Chaotic units are "evil" units: Undeads, Black Dragons, Demons, Black Knights, etc... While Lawful units are good (Clerics, Angels, Paladins, Valkyries, Knights, Platinum Dragons, Fairies, etc...) The original's alignment system was based on good vs evil, not law / chaos. Note that a bit of Story And Gameplay Segregation plays into this, and each games has characters of the "good" classes who are evil and character of the "evil" classes who are good. But as far as the link between alignment and class availability, the trope is played straight.
  • May 18, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    • Ancient Domains Of Mystery uses the D&D alignment system of Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic, but chaotic is not much unlike evil - probably because the Big Bad is the god of Chaos.
  • May 18, 2012
    Koveras
    • The Chaos fairies in Zan Zarah are the favorites of the game's villains, along with the Dark fairies. Of course, fairies themselves obey their masters (so Amy can train and use them for good purposes) but the association is obvious.
  • May 18, 2012
    Mulder
    I think that it's ready. Quite a common trope as well.
  • May 18, 2012
    Mulder
    In the Kane Chronicles Set is described as the god of Chaos as well as death and Desert Storms.
  • May 19, 2012
    Surenity
    Mythology

    This trope is one of the core concepts in Egyptian Mythology. The most evil god of all (eviler than Set) was the serpent Apep, a God of Chaos, which Ra the sun god battled every night.
  • May 19, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    ^ Funny how right the Egyptians were, in that the Sun provides us with most of the power we need to maintain the order of life.

    BTW, I would cut the "more original" thing from the desc. Order vs chaos is hardly original, even compared to Good vs evil.
  • May 19, 2012
    MorganWick
    Would Order Is Good be separate, or would this be a more general thing?
  • May 19, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    ^ These could be grouped together, in which case Good Order Bad Chaos would be a good name.
  • May 19, 2012
    MagBas
    ^^^According to the wiktionary, the "disorder" meaning to the word Chaos appeared in the 17h century. In either case:

  • May 19, 2012
    Alvin
    Inverted in the short-lived Chaos where the title is the nickname of the good guy's litte group in the CIA.
  • May 19, 2012
    Alvin
    Oh, and the above blue-link actually goes to a trope page, not about the show, but related to this.
  • May 19, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    Regarding Dungeons And Dragons above:

    4e changes the nine-alignment grid system with a linear, five-alignment system. In order, the different alignments are Lawful Good, Good, Neutral, Evil, and Chaotic Evil, with the implication that Lawful Good is more "Good" than regular Good, and Chaotic Evil is more "Evil" than regular Evil.
  • May 19, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ What Fourth Edition?

    Comic Books
    • In PS238 the forces of Chaos and the forces of Order are portrayed as Demons and Angels, respectively. Though neither side is particularly welcome on earth.
  • May 19, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    I can't be certain, as I'm a Pathfinder player myself. I'm just going with what I've been told. If someone wants to clarify that example, by all means.
  • May 19, 2012
    WaxingName
    @MorganWick & TheEvenPrime: I want to keep this as Chaos Is Evil because it mainly deals with chaos being associated with evil. I could change it to Good Order Bad Chaos if it also talks of order being associated with good in equal measure.
  • May 19, 2012
    troacctid
  • May 20, 2012
    Arivne
    Comic Books
    • In the DC Universe the forces of Order (Good) opposed those of Chaos (Evil). Later on Order became associated with stagnation and Chaos with anarchy.
  • May 20, 2012
    SKJAM
    In the Glorantha setting of Runequest Chaos itself is neutral (being the void outside the universe) but its manifestations within the universe tend strongly towards evil due to their twisting of reality's rules.
  • May 21, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Tabletop Games
    • Subverted in the Palladium RPG system, where the "most evil" alignment is "Diabolic", which is similar to D&D's Chaotic Evil, but the "most chaotic" alignment, "Anarchist" is considered selfish in the sense of being a hedonist, but isn't considered evil.
  • May 21, 2012
    JonnyB
    I might also point out that the good guys in Get Smart are CONTROL... a synonym for law.
  • May 21, 2012
    desdendelle
    • Zig Zagged in The Battle For Wesnoth. The game has only one alignment axis (Lawful, Neutral, Liminal, and Chaotic); most of the evil creatures (undead, necromancers, orcs, bandits) are Chaotic. However, Chaotic creatures aren't necessarily bad -- for example, you can recruit thieves while playing as the decidedly good Konrad, and the outlaw campaign (Liberty) features a band of freedom fighters which are all represented in-game as Chaotic units (specifically, Chaotic humans).
  • May 22, 2012
    Arivne
    Web Comics
    • El Goonish Shive. The character Pandora Chaos Raven is an immortal with a highly chaotic nature (e.g.her cloud form constantly shifts and changes) who says she's going to destroy our world and replace it with another one. She has also tried to have several human beings killed.
  • May 25, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^ Pandora merely punched Magus away; also, he's the only one who calls her "Chaos". She tried to get Abe killed -- but it's not that she haven't an understandable reason to be very upset.
  • May 26, 2012
    surgoshan
    • L. E. Modesitt's Recluce series has order magic and chaos magic, with the good guys typically practicing black magic and the bad guys practicing white magic. The colors are based upon the complete absence of light (void, perfect order) or the presence of all kinds of light (making white, and chaos). The series recognized that chaos and order didn't necessarily line up with good and evil, recognizing either extreme was bad, but chaos magic causes lots of harm unless the practitioner is very careful. And being careful means being orderly.
  • May 27, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I thought in Warhammer 40k order is evil, and chaos is even worse evil
  • May 30, 2012
    Beed28
    Video Games
  • May 30, 2012
    Ryuuma
    AC: Music

    • In the Emerald Sword saga by the Rhapsody Of Fire band, the hordes of the evil king Akron are costantly associated with chaos, while the heroes are associated with "wisdom".
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