Created By: MrThorfan64 on June 17, 2013 Last Edited By: Agares on January 16, 2014

Evil Nephew

Villainous or otherwise treacherous nephew or niece antagonizes uncle or aunt.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
"Caligula preserved his uncle Claudius mainly as a butt for practical jokes."
The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (translated by Robert Graves)

We know about the Evil Uncle. It looks like nephews in these families hav a difficult time.

But don't think that uncles always have it fine. Sometimes they can be the ones who have trouble. This trope is for uncles or aunts who get badly treated, sometimes they are the Butt Monkey, and sometimes they are subject to avunculicide, the act of killing an uncle.

This can happen when the nephew is the one who succeeds to power and the uncle is still a member of court, but his nephew may treat the uncle poorly.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • Apparently the last ruler of the Shang Dynasty, Zhou Xin, was like this. When his Uncle Prince Bi Ghan criticised him he had Bi Ghan's heart cut out as sages were supposed to have seven openings to the heart and he wanted to check this. His other Uncle Ji Zi feigned madness and was imprisoned.
  • Then with King Arthur, there is his evil nephew and son Mordred, illegitimate son of Arthur's half-sister Morgause or half-sister Morgana. Mordred would kill Arthur in battle as Arthur killed him.

    Comics 
  • In Action Comics #293 Prince Endor is nearly overthrown by his nephew, Lord Nomed.

    Literature 
  • Played with in A Song of Ice and Fire, where Joffrey Baratheon, an entitled Royal Brat treats all three of his uncles Tyrion, Stannis, and Renly poorly. Granted, none of them are paragons of virtue, but they are saintlike compared to Joffrey. What's important, though, is that the public sees Tyrion and Stannis as the Evil Uncles, even though it's the other way around and they are more virtuous than Joffrey comparatively.
  • Downplayed in Herodotus' Histories: Artabanus, uncle of Xerxes, criticizes Xerxes' plan to invade Greece, the latter tells him to stay at home with the women and says that if Artabanus wasn't his uncle, he would suffer even more. But by the next day, Xerxes has reconsidered and apologizes.
  • King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov has Franz intend to murder his uncle; the narrator tells us that later on he will be "guilty of worse sins than avunculicide".
  • Happens in How to Train Your Dragon with Stoick, as his nephew Snoutlout has been made Chief while Stoick has become a slave.
  • According to The Twelve Cesars, Suetonius' history about the Roman Emperors, Claudius (later to become Emperor himself) was customarily harassed and humiliated by his nephew, the Emperor Caligula.
  • According to Heimskringla, the reign of the popular and just King Hakon the Good of Norway was continually under attack by his nephews, the sons of Hakon's brother Erik Bloodaxe. After many failed attempts, the Erikssons finally succeeded in killing Hakon in the Battle of Fitjar, and went on to establish an oppressive and despotic rule over Norway.
  • In The Prince, Machiavelli relates how Oliverotto Euffreducci invited his uncle Giovanni Fogliani (who had brought up Oliverotto) and the other prominent people of his city of Fermo to a banquet, where he had them all murdered so he could set up himself as an autocratic sole ruler.
  • Often found in mystery genre stories with a nephew who wants to inherit wealthy uncle or aunt's fortune—now. Such series as The Whistler used this plot setup all the time.

    Live Action TV 
  • Two examples from I, Claudius:
    • During the rule of Caligula, his uncle Claudius is customarily humiliated by him. Among other acts, Caligula forces him to be the doorman at a brothel, and has him thrown in a river. Caligula also plots the murder of his great-uncle Tiberius, though not actually performing it.
    • Later Agrippina, both niece and wife of Claudius, poisons him so her son Nero can become Emperor.

    Video Games 
  • In God of War III, Kratos kills his uncles Poseidon, Helios and Hades in brutal fashion.

    Western Animation 
  • When Jade Chan in Jackie Chan Adventures becomes queen of the Shadowkhan, she becomes this to her Uncle Jackie.

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • June 17, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Can anyone think of a better name then this? I want real life examples so don't have Evil Nephew, as you can't call real people evil.
  • June 17, 2013
    LordGro
    If you want the inversion of Evil Uncle, then you by necessity end up with Evil Nephew. There's no way to invert an "Evil" trope without arriving at another "Evil" trope, no matter how you name it.

    If you want to make a trope that is truly neutral on the villain-hero a.k.a. good-evil dimension, then (I suppose) the appropriate name is Uncle Nephew Conflict. Evil Uncle would be a subtrope. But then you'll have to rewrite the current description to make it morally neutral.
  • June 17, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    I suppose so. I will wait to see if anybody can think of better names or give more examples.
  • June 18, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Can anybody think of other examples?
  • June 18, 2013
    LordGro
    ^ Example for what? As long as the definition is not settled, there's little point in collecting or bringing more examples.
  • June 19, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    I meant evil nephews or niece.
  • June 19, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    As in those who are evil to Uncle or Aunt.
  • June 19, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Found another example from The Prince by Machiavelli. Oliverotto Euffreducci was brought up by his Uncle Giovanni Fogliani. He finally invited his Uncle and the prominent people of his city of Fermo to a banquet and murdered them all so he could become a dictator. There are so many examples including real life examples there should be a page for this.
  • June 19, 2013
    DracMonster
    Mr Thorfan 64, I'm not sure this warrants a page. Evil Uncle is tropable because it has a number of specific storytelling conventions (the guy usually ends up as an abusive caretaker or trying to kill his niece/nephew for an inheritance). I don't think nephews have the same tropiness and automatic connotations.

    The examples you've come up with mostly appear to the The Evil Prince with just a slight adjustment to the family relation.
  • June 19, 2013
    LordGro
    Thorfan, focusing on Real Life examples means setting false priorities.

    I think Evil Nephew could be tropable, but, as you yourself said, it will necessarily be a No Real Life Examples trope. Note that the example from The Prince and the Claudius-Caligula example from Suetonius can go into the Literature folder.

    You also need to weed out the example list. That Odin and Loki are (supposedly) blood brothers doesn't make their children cousins. There's no such things as "blood nephews" or "blood uncles". And if someone kills his uncle accidentally, as Romulus and Remus did, then it is obviously not this trope which requires hostile intent. Also, the Herodotus examples doesn't feel right. If Xerxes apologized the next day, then essentially nothing bad at all happened to Artabanus. A trope doesn't need a huge number of examples to be worthwhile, but shoehorned examples only water down the trope and decrease the quality of the page.
  • June 20, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    I suppose you are right. Perhaps with Xerxes I could just mention and say it comes close to being this. I will leave out the bit about Odin and Loki and Romulus and Remus though, thank you for mentioning that. But there are so many examples I feel I should put them somewhere and I want to know what would be a good name for such a page. Would Nephew from Hell be a good name? As for not having real life, examples like Dipendra mean I should have the opportunity to put down real life examples. Perhaps something that doesn't mean evil but could and can show someone is a bad nephew.
  • June 20, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Would the name Nephew of Claudius be fine, considering that Claudius' Nephew and Niece were evil to him? Or just Nephew from Hell?
  • June 20, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Another example. In How To Kill Your Dragon the Book, Snoutlout becomes Chief while his Uncle is made a slave.
  • June 20, 2013
    LordGro
    There is no use in tinkering with the title. If it's an "evil" trope, it will be so no matter how you call it. So don't waste time with rhetorical tricks.

    And no, we don't need real life examples at all. The examples you listed may look unproblematic to you, but experience teaches that sooner or later some editor will drop by who feels that "it was all different". Besides, you interpreted the trope more narrow in the RL section than you did in the media examples. Sooner or later someone will feel the need to mention that some celebrity of person of public interest that editor doesn't like one time had a conflict of opinions with his uncle (or aunt, or great-uncle, or great-aunt ...). Thus, Ephil Nephew!

    If it isn't an evil trope, then you will have to offer another definition that works on more technical criteria. Things like Murderous Nephew, Nephew Rebellion, Nephew Coup, Nephew Usurper etc. But note that none of these I just listed encompasses all the different examples you listed above.

    Nephew Of Claudius is extremely bad, as was Uncle Claudius. Why? Because everyone will associate Claudius the uncle of Hamlet and no one will associate Claudius the Roman Emperor. And next to no one knows that Claudius was uncle to Caligula.
  • June 20, 2013
    foxley
    Why the specific focus on Real Life examples?
  • June 20, 2013
    xanderiskander
    is this related to Elder Abuse?

    Also it's probably a good idea to make this No Real Life Examples Please. It's wiki policy that we not have real life examples for these kinds of things, because we don't want to call real people "evil", "bad" or "abusive", or anything of that kind.
  • June 21, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    Alright, Claudius won't be used. Perhaps it would be best to just say Evil Nephew and have no real life examples.
  • June 21, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    So, taking away real life examples, would it be fine to have an Evil Nephew page (also referring to niece)?
  • June 21, 2013
    XFllo
    Do we we have a page for a-hole children who treat their parents, and perhaps other family members like crap? I think it would fall there.

    I agree with Drac Monster that this might be a bit problematic to trope. I think it's too specific and narrow. What exactly is the meaning and purpose to the story? Though if we find enough examples from fiction, there might be a pattern.

    If it is greenlit as tropeworthy, these examples from history could be listed if they appeared in a work of fiction. There is already I Claudius. :-)
  • June 21, 2013
    foxley
    I think Evil Nephew is workable as a trope if we have enough examples.
  • June 22, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    In that case I feel I should restore the page.
  • June 22, 2013
    MrThorfan64
    I think there is one in Game of Thrones. Joffrey Baratheon might be one to his Uncle Tyrion Lannister.
  • July 14, 2013
    LordGro
    I retitled the draft to Evil Nephew and deleted the real life example section and the other shoehorned examples, as discussed above. Since I don't know of a term that encompasses both nephews and nieces, I guess Evil Niece will have to become a redirect.

    The description and the laconic still need work. The Evil Prince, Elder Abuse and The Usurper are all tropes that may have some overlap.

    I think this only distantly related to children treating their parents badly. The underlying conflict in this trope is rivalry for an inheritance or succession in rulership. Kinda like in Evil Uncle, but with reversed villain-hero roles. This is usually no factor in child-parent conflicts.
  • October 4, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    needs to mention in the description that this is not gender specific too.
  • October 4, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    • The Screwtape Letters has both this and Evil Uncle, due to the fact that they're both demons.

    • Real Life: the inheritance rule of Primogeniture led to countless conflicts between uncles and nephews over noble titles.
  • October 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Evil Nephew is already launched?
  • October 9, 2013
    LordGro
    The sponsor initially launched the trope without going through YKTTW, then brought it here when told about his faux-pas. This is why the page already exists.

    @Lumpenprole: The The Screwtape Letters example doesn't sound right. The point of this trope is that a villainous nephew antagonizes his virtuous uncle. Two villains playing on the same team are not this trope, even if they are uncle and nephew.

    (Come to think of it, "Villainous nephew antagonizes virtuous uncle" is actually a better laconic. I'm changing it.)
  • October 10, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Well cuz if the nephew and uncle are both villainous and antagonizing each other then that's another thing entirely, right? :P
  • October 11, 2013
    Synchronicity
    • Played with in A Song Of Ice And Fire, where Joffrey Baratheon, an entitled Royal Brat treats all three of his uncles Tyrion, Stannis, and Renly poorly. Granted, none of them are paragons of virtue, but they are saintlike compared to Joffrey. What's important, though, is that the public sees Tyrion and Stannis as the Evil Uncles, even though it's the other way around and they are more virtuous than Joffrey comparatively.
  • January 13, 2014
    SKJAM
    Often found in mystery genre stories with a nephew who wants to inherit wealthy uncle or aunt's fortune—now. Such series as The Whistler used this plot setup all the time.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=o1dxx8srmo3rypwuzyjufsr3