Created By: thewriterMay 31, 2011 Last Edited By: thewriterJanuary 10, 2012
Troped

Tom The Dark Lord

Evil people with not so scary names.

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Trope

The villain is a universe-destroying, child-killing, virgin-raping, douche and his name is Steve. Generally played for laughs, Tom The Dark Lord is when a character that's evil doesn't have a particularly evil name. In fact, this could effectively be used as Nightmare Fuel if you have the character human and a Complete Monster. Tom The Dark Lord sometimes goes hand in hand with Embarrassing First Name, but not always. Bonus points if it manages to be meaningful. Contrast with Names To Run Away From Really Fast which is about evil people with obviously evil names. See Also Fluffy The Terrible which is about vicious animals and beasts with cutsy names.


Examples

  • Trope Namer: Voldemort from Harry Potter. His real name is Tom Riddle. Good thing he changed it.
  • Freddy from Nightmare On Elm Street.
  • In Hoodwinked the villian, Boingo the Bunny, berates his Mook Keith.
    Boingo: Dolph, tie up the brat; Liesel, hold the book; Vincent, get the truck; and Keith... darn it change your name, please. That's not scary and I'm embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, ya know? Oooo Watch out for Keith!/
    • Which is ironic considering the name "Boingo."
  • Phineas And Ferb's Dr Doofenschmirtz is often called Dr. Doof.
Khaka Peu Peu.
  • For example, the most significant villain in Final Fantasy X is named Seymour. The name's not treated as embarrassing in the story, it's not a completely plain name even if it is in use in real life, and it's not an ironically cute name. But it probably still fits this trope.
  • From Looking For Group, there is a character whose titles include "Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, King of the Dance, Mistress of Magma (he's a... man... he's undead, but he was a man in life,) and mayor of a little village up the coast (read that as "village of flesh-eating, undead hell-beasts in humanoid form")." The character's name? Richard. This is constantly made fun of in the comic.
  • In Yin Yang Yo there's Carl The Evil Cockroach Wizard.
  • In Dave the Barbarian there is Chuckles the Silly piggy.
  • A minor villain from the third season of Lexx had the name Fifi. It's worth mentioning that this villain is male.
  • How about Kung Pow Enter the Fist, where as the evil kung fu master demands to be called 'Betty'?
  • Another Discworld example: Dr. Hix, the University totally-not-a-necromancer, whose real name is actually Hicks. However, he's not really a threat, as his acts of evil fall squarely into Poke The Poodle territory by University statute.
  • Simon from Trollz.
  • In fanon (or whatever), Ron the Death Eater.
  • Adam, known by his more feared nickname "the Millenium Earl" in D Gray Man?
  • Among the BigBads of Buffy The Vampire Slayer there are Richard Wilkins III (The Mayor) and Adam. Also in Buffy The Vampire Slayer there is The Trio, consisting of three generally pathetic guys whose lair is a basement. There names are Jonathan, Andrew and Warren.
  • In the original V for Vendetta comics, Adam Susan definitely counts. However, in the film, it sorta counts, but not quite because while he's still named Adam, his surname has been changed to make him Adam Sutler
  • In Lilo And Stitch the main antagonist is a rodent-like alien named Dr. Hamsterviel, often mispronounced to sound like the not-very-threatening Hamsterwheel.

Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • May 31, 2011
    PaleHorse87
    This trope might just be a subversion of Names To Run Away From Really Fast. Of course, with enough examples it could definitely be its own trope.
  • May 31, 2011
    JonnyB
    I think it's also covered in Embarrassing First Name.
  • May 31, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I believe this is, or is at least related to Plain Name
  • May 31, 2011
    TonyG
    Yes, I think Plain Name and Fluffy The Terrible pretty much cover this.
  • June 1, 2011
    thewriter
    Fluffy The Terrible, though seems to be about Beastly animals with cute names. Plain Name seems to be Plain Names in works with generally weird names. Tom The Dark Lord is about evil people with less than evil names.
  • June 6, 2011
    FalconPain
    For example, the most significant villain in Final Fantasy X is named Seymour. The name's not treated as embarrassing in the story, it's not a completely plain name even if it is in use in real life, and it's not an ironically cute name. But it probably still fits this trope.
  • June 6, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Sooooo, at best that makes it Plain Name But More Specific.
  • June 6, 2011
    SithkingZero
    From Looking For Group, there is a character whose titles include "Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, King of the Dance, Mistress of Magma (he's a... man... he's undead, but he was a man in life,) and mayor of a little village up the coast (read that as "village of flesh-eating, undead hell-beasts in humanoid form")." The character's name? Richard. This is constantly made fun of in the comic.
  • June 6, 2011
    thewriter
    ^^ Then Plain Name is People Sit On Chairs. What impact does having a not so unusual name on the story?
  • June 6, 2011
    chihuahua0
    ^ I'll bring this to the Trope Repair Shop.
  • June 7, 2011
    Discar
    Definitely tropable, probably needs a better description. I think you can get some good sentences from the TRS for Plain Name, which is probably going to be cut in favor of this (or renamed to this, whichever is easier).
  • June 8, 2011
    fulltimeD
    BOB.
  • June 9, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    Edit: Lampshaded in the movie Hoodwinked, where the Big Bad calls out one of his minions because his name is Keith.
  • June 9, 2011
    thewriter
    mentionned and it's keith
  • June 10, 2011
    TippyToeZombie
    In Yin Yang Yo there's Carl The Evil Cockroach Wizard.
  • June 10, 2011
    Jackalyn
    In Dave the Barbarian there is Chuckles the Silly piggy.
  • June 13, 2011
    jaytee
    I would feel better about moving forward with this if someone actually did something with Plain Name. TRS has a habit of discussing what's wrong with an article without getting around to changing it.
  • June 15, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    A minor villain from the third season of Lexx had the name Fifi. It's worth mentioning that this villain is male.
  • June 15, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Why not Tom the Terrible? Also, contrast with Names To Run Away From Really Fast
  • June 15, 2011
    Tambov333
    ^This.
  • June 15, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Between the two, my vote goes to Tom The Dark Lord. For one, there's no reason for it to be "Tom" except to use Harry Potter as the Trope Namer. Dark Lord fits with that theme, Terrible does not.

    Second, the snowclone of Fluffy The Terrible is not super-clever and is bound to cause a problem or two. It's not quite a bad snowclone, but it's not really a good one either.
  • June 15, 2011
    MrNekomata
    How about Kung Pow Enter the Fist, where as the evil kung fu master demands to be called 'Betty'?
  • June 15, 2011
    nabber
    Another Phineas And Ferb one: Khaka Peu Peu.
  • June 15, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    jaytee, I was thinking more of the Added Alliterative Appeal
  • June 16, 2011
    thewriter
    ^^ Nabber, could you elaborate on that character please? Was that the alien guy?
  • June 16, 2011
    nabber
    ^ Never mind. He wasn't actually all that evil. He was from The Beak episode.
  • June 16, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^I got that, but you're still left with all the problems I pointed out. Added Alliterative Appeal is nice, but I think we lose too much to justify it in this case.

    Plus Tom The Dark Lord just rolls off the tongue in a way Tom The Terrible doesn't.
  • June 16, 2011
    nabber
    Hagar the Horrible.
  • June 16, 2011
    thewriter
    ^Oh, I know who you're talking about now.
  • June 17, 2011
    Chabal2
    Evil Harry Dread from The Last Hero.
  • June 18, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    ^I would think that "Dread" falls under Names To Run Away From Really Fast
  • June 18, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In fanon (or whatever), Ron the Death Eater.
  • June 18, 2011
    lalalei2001
    Simon from Trollz.
  • June 24, 2011
    Chabal2
    Another Discworld example: Dr. Hix, the University totally-not-a-necromancer, whose real name is actually Hicks. However, he's not really a threat, as his acts of evil fall squarely into Poke The Poodle territory by University statute.
  • January 4, 2012
    ChaoticNovelist
    I think its tropable. A sister trope to Fluffy The Terrible. That one covers monsters while this one covers villains. For instance it could be a running gag: Supervillian bob could have a Pyscho For Hire named Charlie and a fire breathing hydra named Fluffy. They get laughed at whenever the announce themselves. It could even go into Mood Dissonance when they show their stuff.
  • January 4, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    Tom The Dark Lord sometimes goes hand in hand with Embarrassing First Name, but not always.
  • January 4, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    I think this subversion of Fluffy The Terrible is quite valid as it's own trope: simple 'cos of the nice, juicy contrast being too tempting for many writers to just ignore. Bonus points if it manages to be a *meaningful*, but rather... erm... less-than-stellar name.

    How about Adam? Also known by his more feared nickname as the Millenium Earl in D Gray Man?
  • January 4, 2012
    Belfagor
  • January 4, 2012
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    In the original V for Vendetta comics, Adam Susan definitely counts. However, in the film, it sorta counts, but not quite because while he's still named Adam, his surname has been changed to make him Adam Sutler
  • January 4, 2012
    Euodiachloris
    Adam Sutler still sounds more like a Cutler than Hitler... sorry: couldn't stop myself.
  • January 5, 2012
    LordMelchior
    • In Lilo And Stitch the main antagonist is a rodent-like alien named Dr. Hamsterviel, often mispronounced to sound like the not-very-threatening Hamsterwheel.
  • January 5, 2012
    Kalkiran
    Also in Buffy the Vampire Slayer there is the trio, consisting of three generally pathetic guys whose lair is a basement. There names are Jonathan, Andrew and Warren.

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