Created By: Wardog on May 22, 2011 Last Edited By: StrixObscuro on February 24, 2015
Troped

Ancient Evil

A terrible evil that is terribly old. Possibly so evil *because* it\'s so old.

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In general terms, this trope is about some sort of evil force or being that has been around for an extreme length of time - hundreds or thousands of years at the minimum, and potentially predates humanity - or even life/earth/the universe itself.

Alternatively, it can be about a particular ancient civilization that was (or still is) deeply evil.

In most cases, the extreme age of the being/force/civilization is portrayed as emphasizing how evil it is (either because of the association of living very long and mental deterioration or how such evil can survive the changes of time).

A Sealed Evil in a Can is often an Ancient Evil, but Ancient Evils are not necessarily sealed; they may just be lurking. Or waiting... Occasionally, they may be already dead, but the villain of the present time brings them to the current timeline, either via Time Travel, unsealing, or resurrection.

Descriptions and examples of the various forms of Ancient Evil:

  • Some sort of utterly ancient "force of evil", that is as old as the earth, and maybe as old as or older than the universe, and possibly universal in influence. Either Eldritch Abomination, God of Evil, or Satan (or equivalent). It is effectively the source of much or all evil among humans, either by tempting or leading them astray, or through some sort of mental corruption.
  • A pre-human sapient species. The earth belonged to them once, and they hate us for usurping it. Maybe they want it back, or perhaps just to harm us out of jealousy. Examples include the demons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, many of the creatures in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and many of the creatures encountered (and killed) by Conan the Barbarian.
  • An ancient (and long-extinct) civilization. Possibly caused its own extinction due to its evil (or the evil it unleashed). Typically had a society based on human sacrifice, demon summoning, worship of dark gods, etc. May be presented as being evil because it was so ancient. By the time the main storyline goes, this civilization is mostly being talked over, and either being Bigger Bad or the source of the current villain's evil.
  • Related to the above, an ancient and still existing civilization. Again, may be presented as being evil because it is so old – either because it is a survivor from a time when ever civilization was evil, or because it has been corrupted over time (a form of Immortality Immorality as applied to cultures). May have a hand on an Ancient Conspiracy and maintains a Masquerade, but they may sometimes go openly.
  • A very powerful Evil Sorcerer from ancient times who, because Wizards Live Longer, survives the ravages of time and is still being influential.

Subtrope of Trouble from the Past. See also Evil Old Folks. Compare Abusive Precursors and Immortality Immorality.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Naruto. The original Tailed Beast, the Juubi (Ten-Tails) was originally a benign, very old and powerful World Tree who only wants to remain be until Princess Kaguya ate one of its fruits, becoming the first human with the power of chakra, in order to stop the neverending war of humans. Said tree was not amused and turned into Ten-Tails, terrorizing all humans until Kaguya's son, the Sage of the Six Paths, sealed him within his body, and later, split off Juubi's power into 9 creatures (who became the 9 Tailed Beasts) and created the moon to bury his body out of Earth. In the current timeline he's successfully revived by efforts of the group Akatsuki and gets sealed in its leader Tobi, gaining its tremendous power.
  • Parodied in Ranma ˝ with Happosai, whose introduction in the manga makes him seem like some horrible, ancient evil that's been sealed away for centuries. He, of course, turns out to be just a dirty old man that Genma and Soun locked up several decades earlier.
  • In Kill la Kill, the Original Life Fiber is a massive parasitic organism that actually predates human life.

Comic Books
  • Merd the Oppressor from the Judge Dredd comic books seemed to have been eaten by the giant magical toad Sagbelly, from which Judge Dredd extracted some oracle spice. However, Merd's ghost appeared briefly with a warning: "It takes ten thousand years to learn to use oracle spice correctly, and even then it is dangerous. Look what happened to me." Among Merd's horrors was culling villagers to feed Sagbelly.

Fan Works
  • This trope has become so overused in The Legend of Spyro fanworks that it's often the source of major Snark Bait within the fandom. 'New ancient evil' has pretty much become a major flag that the fic falls into "Post Dawn of the Dragon template", and is often associated with Sturgeon's Law fics in the fandom. Despite this though, this trope just refuses to die, with stories that enclude "Spyro and Cynder have to fight a new ancient evil" still clogging the archive to this day.

Film Animated
  • The Loc-Nar from Ivan Reitman's Heavy Metal describes itself as "the sum of all evil. My influence spans all times, all dimensions, all galaxies." Although it is ultimately destroyed in the film's climax, the closing narration implies that a new Taarakian is born to protect the universe; presumably, evil will return and coalesce into another Artifact of Doom.

Film Live Action
  • The Dark Elves, and especially their leader Malekith, in Thor: The Dark World have existed since before the creation of the universe and aimed to destroy all worlds to bring back everything to the state of the dark void.
  • The Djinn from Wishmaster is an immortal wish-granting Jackass Genie who has been alive since the birth of the universe. Notably, he has no problem whatsoever adjusting to the modern world.
  • Godzilla and Gamera are both ancient monsters who are awoken one day and go on a rampage. In some movies they are depicted as good, however.
  • An ancient Egyptian princess from The Awakening was so evil that her father, the Pharoah, had her Sealed Evil in a Can in an unmarked tomb, and erased almost all traces of her existence. The evil princess takes possession of an archaeologist's daughter once he opens the hidden tomb.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Queen Ravenna is an ancient sorcerer who has been keeping herself (and her brother Finn) alive and young by devouring other's lifeforce. As she reveals towards the end, she's lived at least twenty human lives (making her over 1400) and destroyed countless kingdoms.

Literature
  • The Lord of the Rings. Melkor/Morgoth, Sauron, the Balrogs, Ungoliant, Saruman...just about all of the extremely evil and powerful beings in Middle-Earth were also thousands of years old, some of them dating back to the creation of the world.
  • Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Lord Foul is older than the Land. He was trapped in it by its Creator. His Raver servants are also very old.
  • Many entities in the Cthulhu Mythos, including Cthulhu himself.
  • The Humanx Commonwealth novel Bloodhype. The Vom is a giant ameoba-like creature that devours all life on whatever planet it's on. It's at least 500,000 years old (and probably much older).
  • Dean Koontz's Phantoms. The Big Bad is a gigantic amorphous creature that's older than humanity, and possibly as old as life on Earth.
  • In Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, an ancient Egyptian sorcerer who has held on long after the use of magic decayed into evil.
  • The Big Bad of Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep is the Blight, an Eldritch Abomination implied to be a kind of sentient computer virus that is capable of running on both mechanical and organic platforms—i.e., any sentient creature. Humans inadvertently boot up an ancient database that has hosted the dormant Blight for at least a few tens of billions of years, and it immediately begins to spread out over the galaxy-wide computer network, infecting both computers and sentient creatures.
  • In The Belgariad, Big Bad Torak is so ancient that not only did he and his brothers precede the great disaster that split the known world into two continents, but he in fact caused the disaster.
  • The driving force behind the Second Apocalypse by R. Scott Bakker is the Consult, an Always Chaotic Evil race of Magitek-wielding aliens attempting to resurrect their Eldritch Abomination No-God, Mog-Pharau. The Consult was responsible for the Apocalypse four thousand years before the events of the series, but by the present day, everyone except for the Mandate school of sorcerers is convinced that they no longer exist, if they ever existed at all, and even the Mandate only remembers because all Mandate Schoolmen are cursed to dream their founder's memories of the Apocalypse every night. Interestingly Downplayed in the first trilogy, as they are a barely-present Bigger Bad only tangentially connected to the main plot of the Holy War, but played very straight in the second trilogy.

Live-Action TV
  • Illyria, from Angel. Probably the rest of the Old Ones too, but he/she was the king.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer end had the aptly named First Evil.
  • Doctor Who features this a lot, with the Doctor stopping the reemergence of evils on all levels of the scale. Plus, in the expanded canon of the novels and audio stories the ancient Gallifreyans were a race of monster-slayers who tamed the chaotic early universe.
    • "The Pandorica Opens" Subverts this. Initially, the Doctor believes that the Pandorica houses some kind of ancient, unimaginably evil entity that his enemies intend to unleash on him and the rest of the universe. Turns out, the Pandorica is a cage—intended for him. It goes further when it's revealed that a lot of races regard the Doctor himself as an Ancient Evil.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Wolf in the Fold". The Emotion Eater Energy Being that was Jack the Ripper is at least 500 years old. It is described as being "ancient" so it may be even older.
  • Supernatural: The Leviathan are ravenous primordial monsters who were the first of God's creations and predate both Angels and the invention of souls. Death explains that God sealed them away out of fear that they would "chomp the entire petri dish".

Music
  • "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky, a composition about a huge mountain where a witches sabbath takes place at night. In Fantasia this is made more clear by having the top of the mountain actually be Tchernobog the demon god, folded behind his wings, sleeping all day, but awakening at night and summoning all demons, ghosts, witches and other creepy things to appear inside the mountain for a devilish feast. It is implied that this has been going on since the dawn of time.
  • "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" by Gorillaz from Demon Days is a Spoken Word track, read by Dennis Hopper about an ancient mountain called Monkey whom the villagers below the foot of the mountain know and fear. In the end it destroys everybody and everything.

Mythology & Religion
  • Japanese Mythology: some of the Youkai are actually either animals (like the two-tailed cat or the Kitsune) or items (such as umbrellas or combs) who have lived/neglected for long enough and gains spirits of their own, and most of the time, becoming malevolent.

Other Sites
  • The SCP Foundation has a file on Bigfoot. The "official" version is that just seeing it causes death, but the real version is that they were a Superior Species to which humanity was enthralled in prehistoric eras, having mastered Organic Technology. Then mankind rose up against them, destroying them, and wiping their own memories of the event... but now they're coming back.

Tabletop Games
  • The "pre-human sentient species" thing is played up to eleven with Aboleths from Dungeons & Dragons. They are an evil species that predates creation itself. And they can life indefinitely, meaning there might be some that were still around before the creation of the multiverse.
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Curse of the Chthonians, adventure "The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn". The title Cthulhu Mythos deity is stated to be at least a billion years old.
  • Warhammer 40K has no shortage of these, with the youngest Chaos god being ten thousand years old. The other three achieved sentience during the Renaissance, Middle Ages and Mesopotamian eras respectively, while the orks were created approximately sixty million years before humans existed, but the eldest entities in the universe are the C'tan.
  • The Zendikar block of Magic: The Gathering features the Planet-Eating Eldritch Abomination Eldrazi Titans as its Big Bads. Aside from the whole Planet-Eating thing, their main schtick is that, despite being living things, they are colorless, because they predate the colors of magic. For reference, In-Universe, the colors of magic are practically a law of nature; the Eldrazi are basically older than physics.

Video Games
  • The Creators in Neverwinter Nights, who deliberately became a Sealed Evil in a Can in order to escape an ice age.
  • The Legend of Zelda has Ganondorf, an Evil Sorcerer who (depending on which side of the split timeline) has been sealed away for hundreds of years at a time, only to be released and either sealed again or killed.
  • The Reapers of Mass Effect, massive highly advanced machines that "harvest" all space-faring civilizations every 50,000 years.
  • The Big Bad of the first Shadowman, Legion, is known to be so ancient that it practically made all the prophecies about its own return after it was sealed off. It also manages to gather some of history's finest serial killers under his thrall.
  • Chrono Trigger
    • Lavos, an ancient being who came to Earth millions of years ago, and who (in the Original Future) will cause The End of the World as We Know It, was responsible for the death of an entire intelligent species, will consume almost all life on Earth and then depart to another planet to do it again (implying that it has happened many times before).
    • Also the Rust Tyranno which had been waiting for more than 65 million years for a rematch.
  • Jenova from Final Fantasy VII, an ancient being who came to earth thousands of years ago, and who almost caused The End of the World as We Know It, consumed almost all of the Ancient Cetra, plans to consume all the energy in the planet and then depart to another planet to do it again.
  • The oldest evil in the Diablo universe was Tathamet, the original Prime Evil, which was destroyed by Anu, the original god of the cosmos. The Burning Hells and the demons were spawned from Tathamet's remains, and the Seven Great Evils which would threaten creation were born from each of Tathamet's seven heads, while Anu's remains would form the Crystal Arch, from which the High Heavens and the angels sprung.
  • King of Fighters
    • Orochi has existed since the creation of the Earth, and is disgusted by humans for ruining the world, so he aimed to Kill All Humans. He was sealed by the ancestors of Kyo, Iori and Chizuru long ago. Nowadays (that is, KOF '97) he was unsealed again by the Hakkeshu (Orochi's followers) and Kyo, Iori and Chizuru have to seal him again.
    • There's also Those From The Past, a group of villains lead by Saiki who time-traveled from the distant past and aims to take the power of Orochi for their own purposes.
  • Common in the Dragon Age series.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: The Shadow Queen was sealed away 1,000 years prior to the events of the game and is trying to be resurrected.
  • In the Siren games, the Big Bad for the first Siren game/New Translation remake consisted of Datatsushi/Kaiko, alien beings that landed on Earth in the 600s that were responsible for the events in Hanuda while in Siren 2, Mother and Otoshigo were responsible for the events in Yamijima Island.
  • The Big Bad of Tales of Symphonia is revealed to be One Character With Two Aliases: Yggdrasil, the leader of the evil organization Cruxis, is actually Mithos, the legendary hero who ended the war which more or less marks the beginning of recorded history. Yuan and Kratos Aurion are also just as ancient—they were his party members back then—but significantly less evil.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Discord And Nightmare Moon from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Discord was an ancient being of chaos, who ruled over Equestria and made everypony's existence miserable, until Luna and Celestia were able to seal him. Nighmare Moon was Princess Luna, an Alicorn so powerful, her special talent was to move the moon, but ended up succumbing to The Corruption and became a villain who wanted to bring Eternal Night if not stopped by Celestia.
  • The Center, the main enemy of Justice League: The New Frontier is a mix of this and Gaia's Vengeance, as it has made several attempts to stop man's evolutionary progress after they managed to evolve to a point that they could pose a serious threat to the Earth.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Beyond The Farthest Star''. The magnetic Energy Being has been trapped on an alien starship in orbit around a black hole for three hundred million years.
  • Aku from Samurai Jack. In one episode which showed his Back Story, he is shown fighting Jack's world's gods before the world began.
  • In Thunder Cats, Mumm-Ra calls upon the "Ancient Spirits of Evil" to give him power to transform.
Community Feedback Replies: 74
  • May 22, 2011
    Damr1990
    • Grand Father from CodeName Kids Next Door, it's type 4,5 and 6, was the ruler of the world long time ago, and has the power to turn all people into all people (and turning KND into gudge factories?), his fall effectively was marked as the beggining of the 6th KND era, and when he was released again he inmediatly took charge of all villians again and it took a litteral Colony Drop just to slow him enough to use the needed McGuffin to seal him again ... his identity¡
    [[spooiler: Nubuh one's Grandfather, as well as Numbuh Zero and Fathers's Father]]
  • May 22, 2011
    dalek955
  • May 22, 2011
    Ekuran
    You should edit the main piece of the article (the trope itself) to remove references to yourself, so no "I" should be used.

    Other than that, it's a great trope. :]
  • May 22, 2011
    Riddlewizard
    The Legend of Zelda has Ganondorf, who (depending on which side of the split timeline) has been sealed away for hundreds of years at a time, only to be released and either sealed again or killed. He counts as number 6.
  • May 22, 2011
    Wardog
    Okay, personalisation removed (I've been reading and minor editing TV Tropes for a couple of years now atleast, but only started reading the forums or YKTTW a couple of days ago, so I'm unfamiliar with the procedures and etiquet for this section. I'd originally posted this in the Trope Talk forum).
  • May 22, 2011
    Ekuran
    That's okay, we were all newbs (at least in YKTTW) once.
  • May 22, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    One variation of type 1 is an antropomorphic personification of "primal chaos" "empty void" or some such. In this case, it will hate all of creation simply for encroaching upon its territory.
  • May 23, 2011
    Arivne
    Literature
    • The Lord Of The Rings. Melkor/Morgoth, Sauron, the Balrogs, Ungoliant, Saruman...just about all of the extremely evil and powerful beings in Middle-Earth were also thousands of years old, some of them dating back to the creation of the world.
    • Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant. Lord Foul is older than the Land. He was trapped in it by its Creator. His Raver servants are also very old.
  • September 21, 2012
    Damr1990
    • Discord And Nightmare Moon from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Discord (a type 2)was an ancient being of chaos, who ruled over equestria and made everypony's existance misserable, until Luna and celestia were able to seal him and Nighmare Moon(type 6) was Princess Luna an Alicorn so powerful, her special talent was to move the moon, but ended up succumbing to The Corruption and became a villian who wanted to bring Eternal Night if not stoped by celestia
  • September 21, 2012
    chicagomel
    Illyria, from Angel. Probably the rest of the Old Ones too, but he/she was the king. The Buffy The Vampire Slayer end had the First Evil, if it counts.
  • September 21, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Literature

    Video Games
    • The Reapers of Mass Effect, massive highly advanced machines that "harvest" all space-faring civilizations every 50,000 years.
  • September 21, 2012
    MrRuano
    • The Big Bad of the first Shadowman, Legion, is known to be so ancient that it practically made all the prophecies about its own return after it was sealed off. It also manages to gather some of history's finest serial killers under his thrall.
    • The Center, the main enemy of Justice League The New Frontier is a mix of this and Gaias Vengeance, as it has made several attempts to stop man's evolutionary progress after they managed to evolve to a point that they could pose a serious threat to the earth.
  • September 22, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Doctor Who features this a lot, with the Doctor stopping the reemergence of evils on all levels of the scale. Plus, in the expanded canon of the novels and audio stories the ancient Gallifreyans were a race of monster-slayers who tamed the chaotic early universe.

  • September 22, 2012
    captainsandwich
    the "pre-human sentient species" thing is played up to eleven with Aboleths. They are an evil species that predates creation its self. And they can life indeffinately, meaning there might be some that were still around before the creation of the multiverse.

    Aberrations hailing from exceedingly ancient times are the remnants or survivors of an ancient world, now replaced by the world that seems normal or natural to humans. Some predate creation itself, existing as the last vestiges of a previous creation, an older multiverse in which the rules were very different. While this would imply a span of billions of years in our own universe, in the fantastic universe of the D&D game the creation of the world might be far more recent, a span of a few hundred or few thousand years. Creatures of antiquity deeply resent the arrival of brash new humanoid races and "creator" deities who erased the ancient predecessor universe and replaced it with a less hospitable (to the aberrations, anyway) world. Aboleths are the best example of a race with this origin. Long ago, they populated an earlier creation filled with creatures of similar physiology and temperament, a cold and horrible world of perpetual darkness. This incredibly ancient world died, and the world of humans, dragons, and sunlight replaced it, to the aboleths everlasting anger. Since aboleths retain the memories of their progenitors in an unbroken line stretching back thousands of years, they still recall the earlier cosmos and long for the return of more favorable conditions.
  • September 22, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think Sealed Evil In A Can almost always overlaps with this.
  • September 29, 2012
    Damr1990
    • Lavos from Chrono Trigger, it's an ancient being who came to earth millions of years ago, and who (in the Orinal Future) will cause The End Of The World As We Know It, was responsible for the death of an entire inteligent species, will consume almost all life on earth and then depart to another planet to do it again(being impliet it has happened many times before)
    • Genova from Final Fantasy VII, it's an ancient being who came to earth thousands of years ago, and who almost caused The End Of The World As We Know It , consumed almost all of the Ancient Cetra, plans to consume all the energy in the planet and then depart to another planet to do it again(being impliet it has happened many times before)
  • September 29, 2012
    jatay3
    The Shadows in Babylon Five. Really the Vorlons too but the Shadows are more Obviously Evil.
  • September 29, 2012
    zarpaulus
    • Some notable entities from HP Lovecraft's works by category:
      • Type 1: Azathoth, a mindless, formless "idiot god" that may have created the universe. Ultimate Chaos.
      • Type 2: Nyarlathotep.
      • Type 3: The Elder Things, unintentionally responsible for life on earth.
      • Type 6: Cthulhu, high priest of the Great Old Ones.
  • September 30, 2012
    kevinjwoods
    Some specific Doctor Who examples The Great vampires from state of Decay who spread terror throughout the universe and are the reason for the legends of Vampires throughout the universe until the Time Lords dstroyed them The Silurians or Homo reptilia are exactly 3 The Great beast from The Impossible planet, so old that the Tardis cannot decode its language.

  • September 30, 2012
    Earnest
    The evil is usually a God Of Evil, though it may have a "humble" origin thanks to Evil Makes You Monstrous.
  • October 1, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • The Humanx Commonwealth novel Bloodhype. The Vom is a giant ameoba-like creature that devours all life on whatever planet it's on. It's at least 500,000 years old (and probably much older).
    • Dean Koontz's Phantoms. The Big Bad is a gigantic amorphous creature that's older than humanity, and possibly as old as life on Earth.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Call Of Cthulhu supplement Curse of the Chthonians, adventure "The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn". The title Cthulhu Mythos deity is stated as being at least a billion years old.

    Western Animation
  • November 21, 2014
    TwoGunAngel
    The oldest evil in the Diablo universe was Tathamet, the original Prime Evil, which was destroyed by Anu, the original god of the cosmos. The Burning Hells and the demons were spawned from Tathamet's remains, and the Seven Great Evils which would threaten creation were born from each of Tathamet's seven heads, while Anu's remains would form the Crystal Arch, from which the High Heavens and the angels sprung.
  • November 21, 2014
    Koveras
    May be related to Trouble From The Past and Older Is Better (as in, "Older Evil Is Scarier Than Contemporary Evil").
  • November 21, 2014
    DAN004
    Can I grab this?
  • November 21, 2014
    TwoGunAngel
    Might as well. It's been laying around for two years.
  • November 21, 2014
    JonnyB
    • Aku from Samurai Jack; in one episode which showed his backstory, he is shown fighting Jack's world's gods before the world began.

    • In Thunder Cats, Mumm-Ra calls upon the "Ancient Spirits of Evil" to give him power to transform.
  • November 22, 2014
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K has no shortage of these, with the youngest Chaos god being ten thousand years old. The other three acheived sentience during the Renaissance, Middle Ages and Mesopotamian eras respectively, while the orks were created approximately sixty million years before humans existed, but the eldest entities in the universe are the C'tan.
  • November 22, 2014
    DAN004
    Often, but not always, an Ultimate Evil as well.
  • November 22, 2014
    Lumpenprole
    Literature: In Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, an ancient Egyptian sorcerer who has held on long after the use of magic decayed into evil.
  • November 22, 2014
    Morgenthaler
    If this is going to be divided by "forms", the numbered types should be re-edited to prevent the documented problems with type labels.

    Often overlaps with Time Abyss or The Older Immortal.

  • November 22, 2014
    Chabal2
    • Also from Chrono Trigger, the Rust Tyranno which had been waiting for more than 65 million years for a rematch.
    • The SCP Foundation has a file on Bigfoot. The "official" version is that just seeing it causes death, but the real version is that they were a Superior Species to which humanity was enthralled in prehistoric eras, having mastered Organic Technology. Then mankind rose up against them, destroying them, and wiping their own memories of the event... but now they're coming back.

  • November 22, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ But then there's the translation of a recent attempt at communication with Bigfoot: We forgive you.
  • November 22, 2014
    Patachou
    Further examples:

    Film
    • Godzilla and Gamera are both ancient monsters who are awoken one day and go on a rampage. In some movies they are depicted as good, however.

    • Music
      • "Night On Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky, a composition about a huge mountain where a witches sabbath takes place at night. In Fantasia this is made more clear by having the top of the mountain actually be Tchernobog the demon god, folded behind his wings, sleeping all day, but awakening at night and summoning all demons, ghosts, witches and other creepy things to appear inside the mountain for a devilish feast. It is implied that this has been going on since the dawn of time.
      • "Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head" by Gorillaz from Demon Days is a Spoken Word track, read by Dennis Hopper about an ancient mountain called Monkey whom the villagers below the foot of the mountain know and fear. In the end it destroys everybody and everything.
  • November 30, 2014
    aurora369
    Is this YKTTW still sponsored by anyone?
  • November 30, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    What was that name of that Superman villain who had a name that looked like random letters? Mxzypltik or something like that, right?

    Anyway, this is a common trope among Yokai: items neglected for long enough become sentient and malevolent.
  • November 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ I will take it

    ^ You meant "tsukumogami"
  • November 30, 2014
    JesseMB27
    ^Well tsukumogami are a kind of Youkai.
  • November 30, 2014
    Ominae
    I will assume that Ancient Astronauts who arrived at Earth, in let's say 600 AD, don't count?
  • November 30, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ what are you talking about?
  • November 30, 2014
    Ominae
    In terms of being portrayed as an ancient evil entity.
  • December 1, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ You don't mention any evilness so they won't count.
  • December 1, 2014
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Earthdawn
      • The Horrors have been a threat for at least 20,000 years. They invaded the Earth from astral space during the 2nd and 4th Worlds when the world's magic level became high enough, and they will again during the 6th World (the time period of the Shadowrun game).
      • The Invae (Insect Spirits) have been a threat as long as the Horrors. They infiltrate human society by having their larvae infest and possess human beings. They always appear before the Horrors do and act as a kind of early warning sign that the Horrors are coming.
  • December 1, 2014
    Ominae
    ^^ Thanks. That helps case I find something.
  • December 1, 2014
    Koveras
  • December 15, 2014
    TairaMai
    In Babylon Five, the Shadows are the series Ancient Evil, while they technically fit the bill, their Henchmen Races fit the bill.
  • December 16, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • An ancient Egyptian princess from The Awakening was so evil that her father, the Pharoah, had her Sealed Evil In A Can in an unmarked tomb, and erased almost all traces of her existence. The evil princess takes possession of an archaeologist's daughter once he opens the hidden tomb.
  • December 16, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Anime And Manga
    • Parodied in Ranma One Half with Happosai, whose introduction in the manga makes him seem like some horrible, ancient evil that's been sealed away for centuries. He, of course, turns out to be just a dirty old man that Genma and Soun locked up several decades earlier.
    • In Kill La Kill, the Original Life Fiber is a massive parasitic organism that actually predates human life.
  • December 17, 2014
    lazybanshee
    The tagline of Halo4 is quite literally "An ancient evil awakens"
  • December 19, 2014
    aurora369
    In Final Fantasy VII, the creature is spelled Jenova, not Genova.
  • December 19, 2014
    SolipSchism
    Literature:

    • The Big Bad of Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep is the Blight, an Eldritch Abomination implied to be a kind of sentient computer virus that is capable of running on both mechanical and organic platforms—i.e., any sentient creature. Humans inadvertently boot up an ancient database that has hosted the dormant Blight for at least a few tens of billions of years, and it immediately begins to spread out over the galaxy-wide computer network, infecting both computers and sentient creatures.

    Also, to add an interesting one to the Doctor Who write-up:

    "The Pandorica Opens" Subverts this. Initially, the Doctor believes that the Pandorica houses some kind of ancient, unimaginably evil entity that his enemies intend to unleash on him and the rest of the universe. Turns out, the Pandorica is a cage—intended for him. It goes further when it's revealed that a lot of races regard the Doctor himself as an Ancient Evil.
  • December 19, 2014
    Morgenthaler
    I'll point out again that before this is launched, the numbered type lists in the description should be rewritten because it just invites people to classify them by the numbered labels.
  • December 19, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ right.
  • December 19, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Comic Books
    • Merd the Oppressor from the Judge Dredd comic books seemed to have been eaten by the giant magical toad Sagbelly, from which Judge Dredd extracted some oracle spice. However, Merd's ghost appeared briefly with a warning: "It takes ten thousand years to learn to use oracle spice correctly, and even then it is dangerous. Look what happened to me." Among Merd's horrors was culling villagers to feed Sagbelly.
  • December 21, 2014
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
  • December 22, 2014
    Arivne
  • December 22, 2014
    godzillasaurus
    In The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword, Demise is essentially this, and he is trying to be resurrected by The Dragon, Ghirahim.
  • December 22, 2014
    godzillasaurus
    Also another example in Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door. The Shadow Queen was sealed away 1,000 years prior to the events of the game and is trying to be resurrected.
  • December 22, 2014
    SolipSchism
    ^^ Needs more context. Any time an example write-up says "Alice is this", that's a red flag that's it's probably a ZCE, and this one is.
  • December 29, 2014
    Ominae
    In the Siren games, the Big Bad for the first Siren game/New Translation remake consisted of Datatsushi/Kaiko, alien beings that landed on Earth in the 600s that were responsible for the events in Hanuda while in Siren 2, Mother and Otoshigo were responsible for the events in Yamijima Island.
  • December 29, 2014
    TokoWH
    Fan Works
    • This trope has become so overused in The Legend Of Spyro fanworks that it's often the source of major Snark Bait within the fandom. 'New ancient evil' has pretty much become a major flag that the fic falls into "Post Dawn of the Dragon template", and is often associated with Sturgeons Law fics in the fandom. Despite this though, this trope just refuses to die, with stories that enclude "Spyro and Cynder have to fight a new ancient evil" still clogging the archive to this day.
  • January 14, 2015
    Morgenthaler
    See also Evil Old Folks. Compare Immortality Immorality.

    • Snow White And The Huntsman: Queen Ravenna is an ancient sorcerer who has been keeping herself (and her brother Finn) alive and young by devouring other's lifeforce. As she reveals towards the end, she's lived at least twenty human lives (making her over 1400) and destroyed countless kingdoms.
    • Supernatural: The Leviathan are ravenous primordial monsters who were the first of God's creations and predate both Angels and the invention of souls. Death explains that God sealed them away out of fear that they would "chomp the entire petri dish".

  • February 19, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump?
  • February 19, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Tabletop Game:

    • The Zendikar block of Magic The Gathering features the Planet-Eating Eldritch Abomination Eldrazi Titans as its Big Bads. Aside from the whole Planet-Eating thing, their main schtick is that, despite being living things, they are colorless, because they predate the colors of magic. For reference, In Universe, the colors of magic are practically a law of nature; the Eldrazi are basically older than physics.

    Hatted, but there are already five, so I can just add this example after the fact if necessary.

    EDIT: Oh hey, another one:

    Video Game:
    • The Big Bad of Tales Of Symphonia is revealed to be One Character With Two Aliases: Yggdrasil, the leader of the evil organization Cruxis, is actually Mithos, the legendary hero who ended the war which more or less marks the beginning of recorded history. Yuan and Kratos Aurion are also just as ancient—they were his party members back then—but significantly less evil.

    Pretty sure the Lich from Adventure Time would be an example too, since (if I recall correctly) he dates from the time of the Mushroom Wars, but I'm not entrenched enough in the mythology or confident enough in that dating to do a proper write-up.
  • February 19, 2015
    DAN004
    I think the Black Beast from Blaz Blue is an example, but I don't really know the context.
  • February 20, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Literature
    • In The Belgariad, Big Bad Torak is so ancient that not only did he and his brothers precede the great disaster that split the known world into two continents, but he in fact caused the disaster.
  • February 23, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Okay, I've added the most recent example and this thing has five hats. Let's try and launch it as soon as possible. Does anyone want to propose an index or two to which it can be added?
  • February 23, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Pretty much every index that Time Abyss is part of:

    Also, definitely Villains, and Evil Tropes.

    Not The Antagonist, because Villains is a Sub Trope of that.

    Possibly Horror Tropes. Maybe Cosmic Entity. Possibly Otherness Tropes.

    Edit: Oh, it looks like Cosmic Entity is a Sub Trope of Otherness Tropes, so I think it'd have to be one or the other. I'm on the fence about Cosmic Entity, so probably Otherness Tropes. That's just my guess, though.
  • February 23, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Thanks for the mention of Cosmic Entity; it kicked my head into gear.

    Western Animation
    • The Loc-Nar from Ivan Reitman's Heavy Metal describes itself as "the sum of all evil. My influence spans all times, all dimensions, all galaxies." Although it is ultimately destroyed in the film's climax, the closing narration implies that a new Taarakian is born to protect the universe; presumably, evil will return and coalesce into another Artifact Of Doom.
  • February 23, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    ^ Added your example. I will give folks 12 hours for any last considerations, and then I will launch this thing.
  • February 23, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^^ Per current sorting rules that belongs in Films - Animated rather than Western Animation
  • February 24, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Oh hey. Here's one that is surprisingly similar to the Tales of Symphonia example, but only thematically:

    Literature:
    • The driving force behind the Second Apocalypse by R. Scott Bakker is the Consult, an Always Chaotic Evil race of Magitek-wielding aliens attempting to resurrect their Eldritch Abomination No-God, Mog-Pharau. The Consult was responsible for the Apocalypse four thousand years before the events of the series, but by the present day, everyone except for the Mandate school of sorcerers is convinced that they no longer exist, if they ever existed at all, and even the Mandate only remembers because all Mandate Schoolmen are cursed to dream their founder's memories of the Apocalypse every night. Interestingly Downplayed in the first trilogy, as they are a barely-present Bigger Bad only tangentially connected to the main plot of the Holy War, but played very straight in the second trilogy.

    Also, I am not a Comic Book aficionado, but if I recall correctly, Galactus was a citizen of the universe that existed before ours, who somehow survived the Big Crunch and Big Bang to become the Last Of His Kind. In other words, he's older than the universe. But that's just through Pop Culture Osmosis; another troper might be able to explain it better/more accurately.
  • February 24, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Oh, I shouldn't have capitalized the "The" in "The Consult" in the first sentence. My bad.
  • February 24, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    I don't think Galactus would count as an Ancient Evil. If I recall correctly, his consumption of worlds actually does serve a purpose in the greater scheme of the cosmos, it's just that the inhabitants of those worlds would never be able to comprehend that purpose...

    Last call for any additions. I intend to launch this thing tonight.
  • February 24, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ Fair enough. Like I said, not familiar with the work, so I can't say for sure one way or the other.
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