"Hell will rise and chaos will reign!"
The age-old battles of Good Versus Evil
and Order Versus Chaos
are two very different things, but that doesn't mean certain kinds of people care about that distinction.
After all, Order is often associated with good things like peace, tolerance and cooperation. Which means if you stand for Chaos, you can also represent horrors like war
, mass destruction
and mindless killing
And for this reason, you can often find bad guys trying to actively affiliate themselves with the word.
Chaos is Evil is a very specific kind of Invoked Trope
, where villains like speaking about chaos or including words synonymous with chaos as part of their title or name.
Compare with Chaotic Evil
, where a bad guy just acts chaotically instead of actively trying to reference chaos. When the opposite occurs, and evil and order become synonymous it can become a case of Industrialized Evil
or Assimilation Plot
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Anime and Manga
- 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.
- Played with in Haiyore! Nyarko-san. Nyarko (aka Nyarlathotep) describes herself as "Chaos", but is generally a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. However, she is ruthless in combat, annoys the protagonist, and bends the rules to suit her needs.
- In Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, the true Big Bad and ruler of the Barian World, is Don Thousand, a God of Chaos who plans genocide against the Astral World, which represents Law. (Unfortunately, Eliphas, the ruler of the Astral World who represents Law can hardly be considered a benign force in the conflict, but Don Thousand is obviously a greater evil.)
- In PS238 the forces of Chaos and the forces of Order are portrayed as Demons and Angels, respectively. Though given both side's habit of driving mortals to conflict whenever they get the chance to access our dimension the forces of Order are portrayed as equally bad.
- In Doctor Strange, both Dormammu and Shuma-Gorath have Lord of Chaos as one of their titles, and Dormammu once represented the Anthropomorphic Personification of Chaos in a chess match with Odin, who represented Order. Both of these villains are actually Multiversal Conquerors and God-Tyrants of alternate dimensions, and while they may qualify as Chaotic Evil in terms of their personalities and behaviour, they don't otherwise seem to represent Chaos any more than any other really deplorable villain. Dormammu, for example, has non-chaotic character traits like a code of honor, devotion towards his sister, and a consistent tyrannical way of thinking that "follows set formulas".
- Another Marvel Comics example is Chthon, the resident God of Chaos who has clashed with numerous heroes, who once again is Chaotic Evil by nature, but as no ideological devotion to Chaos. It's slightly more justified in his case, though, as he is also the creator and source of Chaos Magic, which here is a form of Black Magic that pulls off feats of reality warping and affects probability, though still usually towards a very specific end.
- Yet another Marvel example is Venom's symbiotic "offspring", Carnage. His motive for being a serial killer - if he can even be said to have one - is that he thinks Law is an illusion, and that Chaos is the only reality. As a result, he tries to spread this sick philosophy by mass murder. It would be easy to label him Chaotic Stupid, but he can actually be rather smart in his methods sometimes. (Which makes him a living oxymoron, really, being someone who plans out ways to spread Chaos.)
- This was originally played straight in DC Comics, mainly because the heroic sorcerer Doctor Fate was a Lord of Order. However during the 80s there were story arcs deconstructing the trope, with most Lords of Order shown as uncaring if not ruthless, and a few Lords of Chaos in a sympathetic light. Still, since the troubles were mainly caused by Chaos (and it was left to superheroes to deal with them) the impression it gave was that the DC Universe was a Crapsack World.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- In the Discworld novel "The Thief of Time", this is played straight and averted. Initially, we see Chaos was something primitive man feared greatly, playing this trope straight. Later in the novel, we find that the modern conception of Chaos as a powerful driving force with great complexity, averts this trope.
- 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.
- The Cthulhu Mythos has Azathoth, the "Nuclear Chaos" and Nyarlathotep, the "Crawling Chaos". The first is a literal Primordial Chaos, while Nyarlathotep creates it through its myriad forms. Both are considered evil, or at least dangerous for mankind. Another example is Xexanoth, the Lurking Chaos. Capable of warping time, its power is considered too blasphemous for even evil sorcerers to use.
- 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 little group in the CIA.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, characters who explicitly identify with Chaos are almost always evil. (Although the good characters often take a fairly Chaotic role.)
- 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".
- Chaos from Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. To be honest, everyone there is evil to some degree or another, but Chaos really takes the cake. Though this is a bit due to Flanderization, really. The Chaos gods do represent positive traits too, like hope, honor, love and similar concepts that are usually regarded as good, but due to the nature of the universe, these traits rarely ever get displayed. They still aren't strictly evil gods, just gods of chaos, but it really doesn't get displayed very often among their followers, though a few examples appear very rarely.
- 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 brought its own little host of problems.
- Then in 4th edition they got rid of all Lawful alignments except Lawful Good and all Chaotic alignments except Chaotic Evil, implying those to be the extremes of their respective moral alignments.
- 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.
- Super Paper Mario has the Five-Bad Band trying to destroy The Multiverse using an Artifact of Doom called the Chaos Heart. Interestingly, the 'chaos' denoted by the name 'Chaos Heart' references the original meaning of the word, given how the Chaos Heart is the key to opening The Void.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising has an Arc Villain known as the Chaos Kin, which is stated to be a mindless entity who wants a world of eternal conflict.
- The Big Bad of Final Fantasy I is called Chaos.
- AdventureQuest Worlds has Good and Evil joining forces to battle Drakath, the Champion of Chaos, and his 13 Lords of Chaos. While the power of Chaos itself is not inherently good or evil (both the Hero and certain NPCs can use Chaos without being evil), the way that Drakath and his minions use it is very, VERY evil, especially later on in the game.
- 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 friendly, while the opposing goddess of order is a Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar.
- In Sonic Adventure, Eggman takes control of a water god called Chaos, whom Eggman calls the "God of Destruction". Once it becomes Perfect Chaos, it stops obeying Eggman and starts just destroying everything. This trope is later subverted when it's revealed that it was just a Mad God that needed pacifying.
- Generally averted by the Chaos Emeralds. While many of Eggman's evil schemes have involved them, they can easily be used for good purposes as well, such as Super Sonic.
- Just before the True Final Boss of Sonic Rush Adventure, Eggman Nega declares that he will bring about a glorious age of fear and chaos.
- Skylanders plays with this, naming the Big Bad of the series Kaos.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery: The alignment axis is a Law/Chaos one, with Chaos the evil side. The chief evil fought in the game are the corrupting forces of Chaos, rather like in the Warhammer games.
- The Chaos fairies in ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal are the favorites of the game's bad guys, along with the Dark fairies. Fairies themselves obey their masters (so Amy can train and use them for good purposes) but the association is rather enduring.
- 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).
- Resident Evil 6: Carla Radames openly admits that she wants to use the C-Virus to wipe out civilization completely and rule over the chaos that remains. She even provides the page quote.
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: Dracula, the Villain Protagonist, uses Chaos Magic in combat, largely through his Chaos Claws.
- In the webcomic 8-Bit Theater (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.
- She calls herself "Pandora Chaos Raven". However, there are indications that "destroying the world" and "bringing an apocalypse" doesn't mean what it sounds like: "Apocalypse" literally translates to "revelation". If her intentions are non-murderous, then she would more closely represent a very unscrupulous form of Chaotic Neutral.
- 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.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Discord, the spirit of chaos and disharmony, a Reality Warper who ruled over a dark time in Equestria. He usually likes to speak of chaos as his thing, but intertwined with the disharmony he also sows, it makes him both unquestionably Chaotic Evil as well as an antithesis to the concepts associated with good in the setting.
- Ultimately subverted in Keep Calm and Flutter On, where he turns good from newfound friendship with Fluttershy. However, he still antagonizes the rest of the Mane 6 in a more mischievous instead of malicious way, making him more neutral than good.
- South Park: Butters' evil alter-ego Professor Chaos.
- Vaatu, the spirit of Chaos and Darkness, in The Legend of Korra. He is the Bigger Bad of the Avatar-verse whose release sparked thousands of years of unbalance and conflict in the world that the Avatar cycle was started to counter.
- Book 3 plays with the trope in regards to the Red Lotus; on one hand, they are a cabal of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists who want to create chaos by tearing down the world's governments and destroying the Avatar Spirit, but on the other hand their leader states that chaos is not evil, just the natural order of things, and with all governments gone a better world would rise up from the ashes.