"When Your Nemesis Is Your Mom: Fighting with your mom can be awkward. Will she know your weaknesses? If you win can you still go home for Thanksgiving? Just do your best in battle and remember that your mom will kill you if she gets the chance..."A mother is one of the most central figures that a character can have growing up, and her influence can have an impact on that character even as an adult. If the character is lucky, that mother will be a loving one, and if he or she is really lucky, she'll be an Action Mom who can kick ass and take names if the character is ever threatened. But if the character is really unlucky and isn't suffering from Parental Abandonment, the character's mother will be an Evil Matriarch and chances are, she will make that character's life a living hell. The Evil Matriarch comes in two forms: Comedic: Usually used in the Dom Com, this variety is usually the mother of one of the two parents on the show who comes to visit every so often, and someone on the cast dreads it. Usually (though not always) this variety of Evil Matriarch is a meddling parent, often to an irrational extreme. Classically, this is a Mother-in-Law situation, but from time to time, the kids themselves, or even the child of the mother is the one that dreads it. In some cases, everyone hates the Evil Matriarch, like in Malcolm in the Middle where everyone dreads Lois's mother coming to visit. In other cases, her visit is appreciated by everyone but the daughter or son of the Evil Matriarch, like in Family Ties, where the matriarch is evil because her daughter feels she can't live up to mom's perfection. Expect this variety of Evil Matriarch to have Power Hair and other Fashionable Evil. Dramatic: This variety, which shows up in more dramatic media, is truly evil in a traditional sense, and is one of the worst villains one can face, especially if one of the Heroes or Love Interests is one of her children (or if she's married into his or her family as a stepmother). Many such Evil Matriarchs are completely convinced that they, and only they, know what's best for their children, and can be very controlling, manipulative, and perfectly willing to do anything they deem necessary for their children's sake, no matter how evil or destructive it may be. The most vicious examples of this variety of Evil Matriarch despise their children (or at least the one they've singled out as The Unfavorite) and are often physically or emotionally abusive towards them, and many of them are not above Offing the Offspring. If she's not entirely human, then expect her to be a Hive Queen. If she is also the Queen, expect God Save Us from the Queen!. The Spear Counterpart of this character type is Archnemesis Dad. The inversion is Antagonistic Offspring. See Abusive Parents and Parental Neglect for the more mundane versions. See Offing the Offspring and/or Matricide for what this might lead to if the kids fight back. If it's not your mother but her replacement who's making your life a living Hell, see Wicked Stepmother.
— Does This Cape Make Me Look Fat? By Chelsea Cain and Marc Mohan
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- Code Geass gives us Marianne vi Britannia, Lelouch and Nunnally's mother, whom they revered as a saint while never knowing that she had the same ambitions as their father the Emperor. One sidestory novel has a scene in which the Emperor's bodyguard Bismarck witnesses Marianne peacefully interacting with her kids, then is stunned when he sees that her face is completely devoid of motherly love.
- Mayu's mother from Elfen Lied. She shows no empathy towards Mayu when she tells her that her stepfather is molesting her and belittles her because she is jealous of the "attention" her stepfather was giving her, and tells her that she wouldn't care if she vanished.
- Sohma Ren, Akito's mother, from Fruits Basket. She's probably one of the worst fictional parents ever.
- There's also Yuki and Ayame's mother, who had no qualms about abandoning/selling and ignoring them respectively. In a flashback, it was revealed that she and her husband were off "living it up" with the money and status they got from Yuki being Akito's companion — while Yuki was deathly ill. Unlike others of her ilk, she's hinted in the manga to have started to get better, after Ayame completely owns her at the parent conference.
- In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Sloth is the failed resurrection of the Elric brothers' mother, Trisha. As such, she attempts to kill her previous incarnation's children to assert her own individuality and convince herself that she is not Trisha — all while Wrath, a child Homonculus who's the failed resurrection of Izumi Curtis' unborn son, sees her as a mother figure. She may have decided otherwise right before dying, if her Famous Last Words are a signal.
- Hotohori's mother from Fushigi Yuugi, a former Gold Digger who did lots of bad things to make sure her son would be chosen as The Emperor. Ironically, she dies before Hoto ascends to the throne.
- Kageyama Hiroko (the Countess Werdenberg) from the anime Gilgamesh, despite that she is apparently intended as a tragic and sympathetic character.
- Kaede Domyoji from Hana Yori Dango puts the family corporate behemoth before everything, including her children's potential happiness ("There is no place for ridiculous emotions like [love] in the Domyoji Group.") She neglects her son for years (which is implied to be the source of his semi-sociopathic fits of violence) until he gets involved with the Plucky Girl heroine, after which she devotes herself wholeheartedly to sabotaging the relationship by using her massive wealth and connections to blackmail and destroy everyone the heroine holds dear, an exercise she has already previously done with Tsukasa's older sister Tsubaki. When Tsukasa ends up in the hospital with amnesia, she doesn't even display any concern and merely exults in the fact that this will harm his relationship with his girlfriend.
- Oryou Sonozaki in Higurashi: When They Cry, Head of the Sonozaki Family (a Yakuza of some sort). Subverted; she is a complete Jerk Ass to her granddaughters and not too kind to her daughter as well, but is responsible for far, far less than she's suspected of. Shion's not convinced though.
- Arima's birth mother Ryouko in the manga version of Kare Kano, who not only got pregnant only to get money from her boyfriend's family (not knowing that he was The Unfavorite, but abused her kid to horrible degrees, prompting said boyfriend to take bitty!Arima to his eldest brother and his wife (the only Arimas who didn't hate him) so he could have a decent life.
- Karin's grandmother Elda Marker can come off like this at times, but, given that she's a vampire who spends long periods of time isolated from society (to sleep) and has an intense distrust of humanity because of the massive Trauma Conga Line process she and others went through decades ago... well, she is not very well in her vampire head.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Precia Testarossa is the definitive Evil Matriarch, especially in the TV series where she is nothing but cruelty incarnate when it comes to her daughter Fate. Later adaptations would make her more sympathetic (especially INNOCENT, which completely removed the evil aspect and made her a full on Doting Parent).
- Certain fan theories regarding Neon Genesis Evangelion peg Yui Ikari as one of these, based largely on the fact that End Of Evangelion has a short flashback towards the end that reveals she knew, to some degree, what would happen to her after the Contact Experiment, but seemingly didn't know just how far off the rails Gendo would go to get her back, if the fact that Unit 01 bites Gendo's head off is any indication. This also means that she possibly knew what was going to happen to Toji and her son and how broken they'd be by the end.
- Tamaki's grandmother Shizune in Ouran High School Host Club looks down on him because he can't live up to her restrictively high standards for her family, and forbids him from seeing his mother. Oh, and Tamaki is currently the heir because his grandmother bought him, as Tamaki's mother Anne Sophie would quickly die in a life of poverty.
- She may be worse in the anime. To her, Tamaki is nothing but a tool to marry off to the Tonaire family so that they can produce a legitimate heir. This doesn't bother Tamaki in the slightest, as he knows his grandmother despises him and already has dreams beyond the Suoh corporation.
- Duchess Martine Gabrielle de Polignac is written like this in Rose of Versailles. Her treatment not only of her daughter Charlotte, but of her illegitimate daughter Rosalie and other people, specially Marie Antoinette, goes beyond pale.
- Gyokumen Koushu from Saiyuki took her biological daughter Lirin and gave her up to scientific experimentation in order to try and revive her locked away lover Gyumaoh. She also took her stepson and experimented on him to make him Brainwashed and Crazy. Also, Gojyo's stepmother abused and tried to kill him as a child, forcing her own son to kill her to save Gojyo.
- In Soul Eater, Medusa is this to Crona in a twisted attempt to turn her child into the next Kishin. It all started when Medusa melted the Living Weapon Ragnarok into Black Blood and replaced Crona's blood with him, and it just spiraled down from there. As a form of training, Medusa forced Crona to kill animals and when they didn't comply she would lock them in a dark room with no food or water for as long as a few days until they did. Even when Crona's older, she has such a strong hold on them that she easily manipulated their emotions and desires so that they'd remain loyal and dependent on her out of pure fear. Fortunately in the anime, Crona found the strength to stand against her and officially join the good side. But in the manga, they weren't so lucky.
- Kagura's mother, Shinzen Tennozou, in Speed Grapher. Not only does she constantly belittle and starve her daughter out of resentment because her husband/Kagura's father abandoned her and that was the corollary to her Dark and Troubled Past, she even goes out of her way to show that thanks to her Screw the Rules, I Have Money! mentality, there is virtually nothing anybody can do to help, until Saiga shows up (he has it hard).
- In this case, it's more like screw the savior; I have money.
- Jane in a certain anime version of Tarzan, Jungle King Tar-chan. Apparently Jane is a former model who turned into a bloated cow after marrying Tarzan. She is lazy, gluttonous, and brutal. Fully willing to unleash hell on Tarzan's groin when he steps out of line. One unconfirmed rumor is where she kills and eats a woman who showed interest in Tarzan.
- From Wandaba Style, Furoku Tsutsumo, mother of Teen Genius Susumu, will go to any length to make her son admit that she is right and he wrong when it comes to space travel (she believes in furthering scientific achievement at any cost while he would rather try to find a way to launch a rocket that's environmentally friendly). Over the course of the series, she fakes a moon landing and makes it look like Susumu did it, blackmails his pilots into coming to the moon with her while neglecting to mention that there isn't a return trip, and nearly refuses to accept her son's truce when he comes to rescue them.
- Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill la Kill, the powerful head of the Kiryuin Conglomerate and Greater Scope Villain of the series. A sinister Evilutionary Biologist that has used her own family in experiments and subjects her daughter to rather.....disturbing displays of affection, she is a candidate for Worst Anime Mother. Little surprise that Satsuki stabs her in the back. Too bad it didn't take, since she's a Life Fiber-fused monster that can reattach her own head. And then there's what she did to her other daughter, and her husband, and...
- Ren Gyoukuen from Magi – Labyrinth of Magic. She claims responsiblity for the horrible deaths of her first husband and her two elder sons and later off-handedly wonders if she should kill her daughter as well. All in front of her youngest son, whom she taunts for being powerless to do anything about it. Said youngest son is very screwed up as a result...and that's almost certainly intentional on her part. She's also The Usurper of an empire and the leader of an organization that wants to summon a God of Evil to kill everyone on the planet. In Alma Toran, she also murdered someone who considered her a surrogate mother. Worst mother ever.
- In Child Ballad The Famous Flower of Serving Men, the heroine's mother had her husband and in some variants her baby killed.
- In Child Ballad Willie's Lady, Willie's mother, a rank witch, casts spells on his wife so that she can not be delivered of her child but will die.
Of her young bairn she'll neer be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter.
But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.
- In Child Ballad The Lass of Roch Royal, the mother turns away her son's lover and his baby, although they will (and do) die in the cold weather.
- Virtually every fairytale with a stepmother fits this. If the child's biological father isn't dead already, the stepmother is usually able to either hide everything from him or cow him into submission.
- In fact, the Grimms rewrote folk tales in which the mother was the villain into stepmothers just to distance them a bit.
- Both of the mothers in The Drowned Lovers (traditional, but most recently arranged and performed by Kate Rusby) fit this trope, and both succeed in killing their children by their malice.
- Jesse Custer's grandmother from Preacher is this trope taken to ludicrous and horrific extremes. She keeps her family imprisoned on a backwoods hellhole farm with the help of her degenerate and perverted henchmen, locks her grandson in a coffin underwater for weeks, and, of, course, tries to have her daughter killed.
- Damian Wayne's mother Talia al Ghul has fallen here lately, taking control of her son's nervous system to kill his older brother/mentor Dick Grayson and then revealing to Damian that she had begun cloning him when it became clear to her that he was no longer doing what she wanted him to do. When Damian asked her why she couldn't love him for who he was (showing a rare hint of Woobie-ism), Talia replied "No. I'm too much of a perfectionist" and declared him an enemy of the House of al Ghul, where he spent at least the first three quarters of his life. Oh, and he's ten. She told her ten year old son that along with "I'm cloning you" in the span of about five minutes in Batman & Robin issue 12. Culminates in Offing the Offspring when she allows the clone, Heretic, to brutally kill Damian.
- The Pride in Runaways is made up of six pairs of Archnemesis Dads and Evil Matriarchs. Interestingly, The Pride honestly believe that they are doing the best they can for their children: by destroying the world and allowing the Gibborim to remake it, they will be handing their children paradise. With one exception, the kids don't agree, and their interference ultimately leads to the deaths of all The Pride's members.
- Cheshire of Teen Titans was responsible for giving birth to Roy Harper's daughter Lian. Over the years it's been up for debate as to whether or not Cheshire has been capable of genuine love for her daughter. Roy has made it clear he's raising Lian because he does not believe Cheshire can be trusted, and any possibility of getting in contact with her has been shot down. Black Canary once told one of Lian's babysitters that if her mom showed up, to lock the door and scream for Superman or any other hero in the vicinity. Finally, in Villains United, Cheshire conceived a replacement child by Catman, when Lian's welfare was held over her head to ensure her cooperation with the Secret Six. It's now entirely debatable as to whether or not any love Cheshire has for any of her children is just as a means to keep hold over their fathers, a superhero with connections to the Teen Titans and the Justice League of America, and a supervillain who is considered once of the deadliest trackers in the world.
- X-Men: Mutant terrorist Mystique. She really does love her children, but Nightcrawler's the only one she hasn't stabbed or shot. Though to be fair, one of her kids was evil, but another was just trying to get Mystique out of jail, only for Mystique to break out and stick a knife in her gut for taking too long. Yes, really does love her children.
- Even Nightcrawler didn't escape unscathed. Only a few hours (at most) after he was born, she chucked him over a waterfall so that she could escape an angry mob without him weighing her down. Then again, the guilt over this incident is why she's probably not been as cruel to him as she's been to her other children.
- Emma Frost, depending on which side she's on; she is either with the heroes or fighting against them, or manipulating both sides for personal gain.
- In Diamonds and Toads, the evil mother favors the daughter who's like her, and hates the one who's like her father.
- Hansel and Gretel also had a Evil Matriarch rather than Wicked Stepmother in the first edition.
- In the tale Snow White as The Brothers Grimm collected it, the queen actively abandoned the princess in the forest — telling her to get out of the carriage to gather roses and then driving on. In their first edition, they introduced the huntsman to tone it down. After that, they turned to the Wicked Stepmother.
- The reverse is also true; the aforementioned "Diamonds and Toads" originally explained that the younger daughter was mistreated because she was the stepdaughter. Charles Perrault changed it to have an evil mother to make the story less similar to Cinderella.
- Nourie Hadig and Gold Tree and Silver Tree also feature an evil mother.
- Belle-Etoile's paternal grandmother in Princess Belle-Etoile conspires to get rid of her grandchildren because she does not approve of her sons' wives. Averted with Belle-Etoile's maternal grandmother, who is accepting of her daughters' husbands and is happy to be reunited with her grandchildren.
- Paperarello's mother in Paperarello conspires to get rid of her own son.
- A particularly extreme fairy tale example occurs in The Pigeon and the Dove. Constancio's mother is described as "the most wicked and vindictive princess in the world" and very much lives up to it. She threatens to kill her son's beloved Constancia in front of him, sends scorpions, toads, and snakes after her, sells Constancia into slavery, and even holds a mock funeral for her when Constancio believes that she is dead.
- The Immortal Game has Queen Terra, Celestia and Luna's sociopathic mother.
- Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu from Nobody Dies is most certainly this; one of her main goals in life seems to be the prevention of Asuka's ever developing the delusion that she's actually a worthwhile individual.
- The Pony POV Series has Discord's mother Entropy, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Heat Death. As such, she's an Omnicidal Maniac by job description, and therefore has no care for anything, least of all her children. Hell, she erased one of her children from existence because ___ talked back to her.
- However, this is ultimately subverted, as it's revealed this was Celestia's somewhat bias interpretation of her. Entropy's actually a bit more complicated than that: She's the End of Suffering, the End of Tyranny, ect. and has ZERO love for murderers and OTHER Omnicidal Maniac types because She doesn't want anything to end before its time. And it turns out she erased ____ because he was trying to kill off Nature's Law, which would've more or less wrecked the universe.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Solvernia, the secondary villain Cinoshisa, Viral's rival in Lordgenome's army, is a ruthless commander. But she's actually Kali Bachika, mother of Kittan, Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal. She betrayed her village to the beastmen but couldn't kill her own children herself, so she abandoned them to die. Later, when she meets Kinon, she can't kill her again. Though her children don't know that Cinoshisa and Kali are the same person.
Films — Animated
- Disney loves these, and plays them straight, usually as Wicked Stepmothers:
- The Wicked Stepmother (Lady Tremaine) from Cinderella, who uses extreme Parental Favoritism towards her two lazy, unpleasant biological daughters (thus being the one to blame for them being the way they are) while almost reducing Cinderella to a serf while living in her late husband's house. In the direct-to-video sequels, she's even worse: when one of said biological daughters starts developing a conscience, she immediately traps her as a pawn for her plans against Cinderella...
- And in the film Dumbo, the oldest cow elephant that constantly pesters the titular character is named, "The Matriarch." (In real life, elephant herds are actually led by an elderly cow elephant called a matriarch.)
- Queen Narissa from Enchanted, who tries to sabotage her son Edward's marriage so that she can remain in power.
- Zira, from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, raises Kovu to exact revenge for Scar, in addition to she herself leading a pride against Simba's.
- The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, who wants to kill Snow White to remain the most beautiful woman in the land.
- Mother Gothel from Tangled. She's not Rapunzel's biological mother; rather, she kidnapped Rapunzel for her Fountain of Youth properties, and has kept her hidden in a tower for years while psychologically abusing her and only caring for her hair aka the source of her powers.
- Hydia from My Little Pony the Movie. She does nothing but mistreat her daughters, going so far as to even punish them for calling her "mama". Since Reeka and Draggle get quite the Character Development and especially since they seem to be punch clock villains rather than actually evil, it's actually hard not to feel bad for them. (Specially Draggle since she's the one who gets treated worse.)
Films — Live-Action
- Janine in the Australian family crime drama Animal Kingdom.
Give us a kiss.
- Madea of Antwone Fisher to her foster children, to a terrifying degree.
- Babylon A.D.: The High Priestess of the Neolite sect destroys the convent where Aurora was brought up in with a missile strike, presumably to destroy evidence of her past that would obscure her status as a modern 'miracle'.
- Brian's mother from The Breakfast Club, who vicariously lives through Brian's school achievements while treating him like crap.
- Mama Fratelli in The Goonies. She's the head of a family of criminals, including two of her sons.
- Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate.
- Mary Jones, the mother in Precious. She allows her husband to rape their daughter, impregnating her twice. The firstborn child has Down's Syndrome and she sends that child to live with the grandmother. She receives welfare, but only spends it on herself, and puts on this wonderful mother routine when the social worker comes for visits. Even worse still, Mary physically, verbally, emotionally, and also sexually abuses Precious and eventually physically abuses the 2nd baby that Precious gives birth to.
- Norman Bates' mother from Psycho.
- In The Punisher (2004), the Big Bad's wife is this. When one of her sons dies at Castle's hand, she is the first who insists on bloody revenge on Castle's family, to which her husband asks if she's sure before issuing the order. This was Frank Castle the cop, and the son was accidentally killed during a shootout. In the movie-verse, this is actually what turned Frank into The Punisher.
- Rose Chasseur in dark Christmas comedy The Ref is the first type. She is such a massive bitch on wheels that even the hardened criminal played by Denis Leary is appalled at how mean she is, and her own grandchildren take delight in helping said hardened criminal tie her to a chair.
- Serial killer Jacob Goodnight's mother in See No Evil was an insane and extremely religious person, who raised him through abuse to be a "Hand of God".
- Helen Jorgenson, Sandra Dee's mom in A Summer Place, is a frigid, bigoted, social-climbing, husband-and-daughter-hating bitch. Her mother seems, from what little we see of her, to be every bit as bad.
- Marietta Fortune in Wild at Heart is a particularly deranged example.
- Queen Bavmorda in Willow is not only an evil queen but a bad mother.
- The jealously possessive villain mother Madame Sebastian in Notorious.
- Leyla and Nina's mother in When Darkness Falls. It wasn't the family's father who set up murdering Nina to regain the family's honor, but her. Leyla later explains to a police officer why her mother did this:
Leyla: If you gave birth to a whore you are a whore yourself. But if this whore doesn't exist, if she never existed...
- In A Brother's Price, all organized crime is expected to be managed by an evil matriarch, as families are very close, and usually all members of a family are brought to court for a crime one of them committed. Rank is determined by age, the eldest sister in a family is named Eldest and becomes Mother Elder when she has her first child. The evil matriarch in any given family of criminals is therefore the Mother Elder. Strictly enforced discipline, and the fact that criminal individuals are thrown out of lawful families, more or less guarantees that a family that turns to crime will have an evil matriarch in charge. The villains actually murdered their own mothers (who were in on the conspiracy, so likely evil matriarchs themselves) in order to shut them up, as the family "doesn't age well" and tends to senility. The main villain has already one child, and is the Eldest of the family, so she is well on her way to become an evil matriarch herself.
- Diana Wynne Jones liked this type of character a lot; even if they could change you into a rabbit, their terrifying power usually derives from the ability to sweetly and serenely put you in the wrong, no matter how sure you were that you had right on your side. She said in interviews that she drew inspiration from one of her actual relatives.
- Dogsbody: Kathleen lives with her uncle, his family, and her evil step aunt who works her like a dog, verbally abuses her, and threatens to kill her dog on a regular basis.
- Black Maria (also titled Aunt Maria): While Aunt Maria seems like the sweet lady who runs the local ladies gatherings, she actually tries to groom the narrator, Mig, as an heir. Along the way, she turns Mig's brother into a wolf, brainwashes their mother to not notice said brother's disappearance and act as the housekeeper, has Mig eventually sent to be locked up with the town "orphans" (another one of her plots — they're actually the children of the townsfolk who Maria is trying to control), and eventually it is revealed that she turned her own daughter into a wolf after they had an argument. And the daughter was killed when Maria tried to get Mig's brother shot in a wolf hunt.
- Fire and Hemlock: Laurel, depicted as a youngish Evil Matriarch who dominates everyone in the extended family based in the mansion where Polly met Tom Lynn. (Tom included; she's said to be his ex-wife.) She's actually the Queen of the Fairies. Which doesn't lessen this trope one bit.
- The 39 Clues: Isabel. Kabra.
- In Jo Walton's Among Others, Mori's mother is an evil witch, and Mori's sister has already died thwarting her.
- A couple Older Than Feudalism examples from The Bible: King Ahab's wife Queen Jezebel, who passed her evil ways down to many members of the House of Ahab — most of all...
- Daughter and "replica" Queen Athaliah, the Evil Matriarch who executed all of her dead son Ahaziah's children (and her own grandchildren) to forcefully take over the Kingdom of Judah, ruling it with a hand of iron. Only baby Jehoash survived, thanks to his aunt Jehosheba as well as Jehosheba's husband, High Priest Jehoiada; six years later, Jehoiada was able to capture and execute the treacherous Athaliah and crown Jehoash, the rightful king.
- The Silver Queen, Yambu, was the Big Bad of the first two volumes of the Books Of Swords. Among her other acts, she sold her only child, Ariane, into sex slavery. She would have killed her, but for unfavorable auguries.
- The Ancestress from Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds. A former imperial concubine, she murdered the emperor and ruled China through their son. When a successful rebel overthrew and killed her son, the rebel spared the Ancestress as well as the dead emperor's daughter. She sets about arranging to breed sons from her granddaughter, so she can force them to retake the crown.
- Carrie's mother Margaret White. A religious fanatic who fiercely abhors everything even slightly related to femininity and sexuality, and who sees her psychic daughter as nothing but an abomination and a shameful reminder of that one dreadful time when her husband had his way with her. Needless to say, this ends horribly.
- Adelaide French from The Cavaliers Series is the wife of Augustine, the most powerful vampire in existence. As a result, despite having only been turned less than twenty years ago, she commands a lot of power, respect, and even fear amongst The Cavaliers, her husband's secret society. Her human daughter, Harriet French, is the series' main protagonist. Adelaide is desperate to see her daughter turned by an eligible Cavalier and as a result, she forces her daughter's weaker love interest to pretend to hate her and removes her daughter's protection from mind control so that she can be mesmerised into falling for the "right" person. The fact that the "right" person killed her niece and attacked her daughter before knowing who she was doesn't seem to bother her. She's also ruthless about getting what she wants more generally and is scathing of anyone who doesn't live up to her high standards. On the other hand, despite going about things the wrong way, she seems to genuinely love her daughter and believes that she has her best interests at heart.
- The empress Tatrini Malagash in The Chronicles of Magravandias is respected and feared by all of her sons (and The Empire at large), especially knowing she only has ambitions for one of her younger sons, Bayard. The rest of them know themselves to be expendable if they get in her way without the resources to fight her.
- Subverted in Coraline. Her mother seems like a Jerk Ass at first, but that's only until Coraline meets her Other Mother...
- In the Forgotten Realms franchise, Drow society is matriarchal, and Drow are Always Chaotic Evil, resuting in a whole lot of these. This is exemplified in Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy by Drizzt's mother Malice Do'Urden. She's introduced ready to be delivered of Drizzt, immediately whereafter she attempts to sacrifice him to her evil goddess.
- Michael Wenton-Weakes's mother in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, at least according to Michael.
Michael usually referred to his mother as an old battleaxe, but if she was fairly to be compared to a battleaxe it would only be to an exquisitely crafted, beautifully balanced battleaxe, with an elegant minimum of fine engraving which stopped just short of its gleaming razored edge. One swipe from such an instrument and you wouldn't even know you'd been hit until you tried to look at your watch a bit later and discovered that your arm wasn't on.
- In fact, Lady Wenton-Weakes is simply the opposite of a Beloved Smother; she thinks Michael has been horribly spoiled by his father, and hopes that selling his magazine to someone who might actually make something of it may encourage him to grow up a little.
- Discworld example: Nanny Ogg is not very evil, but she rules over the entire Ogg clan (a massive family whose family tree is described as being closer to a mangrove thicket). She's quite benign and verges on My Beloved Smother for most of her family... except for her daughters-in-law, who cook for Nanny Ogg, clean for Nanny Ogg, and pray to the gods that Nanny Ogg doesn't come home from a vacation and find the slightest thing out of order. Famously, Nanny Ogg has never learned or remembered the names of any of her daughters-in-law.
- In Hogfather, having an evil mum is the backstory of one of Teatime's thugs. She's dead and he's still more afraid of her memory than he is of Teatime.
- In the prequels to the Dune series, Duke Leto Atreides' mother, Helena, is generally a thorn in the side of the Atreides household, and hatches a plot to kill her husband, the Old Duke Paulus. She is eventually exiled to the Sisters in Isolation to spend the rest of her life.
- A lot of V. C. Andrews' stories contain this:
- Olivia Foxworth, the terrifying grandmother from Flowers in the Attic. She convinces her daughter to hide her four children in the attic of the family mansion in order to avoid being erased from the family line of inheritance. The children are starved, beaten, and terrorized by the grandmother, and eventually neglected. It later emerges that Grandmother, in combination with her daughter schemed to kill the children by poisoning their food with arsenic. She is somewhat redeemed in one of the sequels, although this may be partial Canon Discontinuity because it was completed by the ghostwriter who succeeded Andrews after her death.
- Olivia Logan in the Logan Series.
- Lillian Cutler in the Cutler Series.
- Grinny, in the children's book of the same name by Nicholas Fisk. She's a great-aunt, not a grandmother, and comes across as a Cool Old Lady, but the children hate and fear her anyway because there's something frighteningly off about her. And how come they've never heard of her before she showed up on the doorstep?
- In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Sirius Black's mother Walburga is heavily implied to have been an Evil Matriarch. Sirius is known to exaggerate, however, her portrayal through her portrait doesn't paint a very good picture of her. Essentially, she and the rest of her family disowned any decent people.
- Narcissa Malfoy first appears to be this. Later books reveal that, while still a bigot, she's much more of a loving mother than she appears.
- Bellatrix Lestrange alludes to being this if she ever had children. She says that if she had them, she would proudly offer them up as servants (read: child soldiers) to Voldemort.
- Livia from Robert Graves' I, Claudius is the Evil Matriarch ramped up to x1000. She poisons/murders no less than 6 family members (including her husband, Emperor Augustus) in her scheme to set up her son as the next Emperor of Rome. (And she doesn't even do it just for him, she also does it as part of a scheme to become deified after her death, and thus become an immortal goddess, to escape punishment in the afterlife for her crimes.)
- The grandmother in L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill manipulated her beloved daughter Robin into leaving her husband and taking her daughter, Jane, with her. She doesn't really like any of her other children, runs Robin's life, and does everything in her power to make Jane feel worthless.
- And Mrs. Kent from the Emily books - Mrs. Kent, who loves her son Teddy obsessively, bitterly hating anything that Teddy loves. This includes his friends, his art, and his dog (which she may have even poisoned). Apparently she's kind and gentle to Teddy, but outright strange to everyone else (well, she has a Freudian Excuse).
- Jeeves and Wooster: Not quite a matriarch, but it's hard not to think of Bertie Wooster's Aunt Agatha, "who eats broken bottles and turns into a werewolf on the full moon."
- The Second Wife from Auntie An-mei's childhood in The Joy Luck Club. Let's see, she got the First Wife addicted to opium, leaving her a shell of herself in constant religious agony, rules Third Wife like a puppet, had her husband rape an innocent guest to get him his Fourth Wife, and then arranged for a Fifth Wife whose greatest purpose would be to make Second Wife look better. And when Fourth Wife had a son, Second Wife claimed him for her own.
- Eleanor Iselin in Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate. Having waaay too much political ambition, she manipulates and discards men, including her neurotic, brainwashed son, without hesitation.
- Also from Terry Pratchett is the person to whom the quote at the page's top refers. Daphne's grandmother from Nation is exactly as described. Among her quirks are keeping track of just how many people have to die before Daphne's father becomes king of England. When Daphne learns that all those people did, in fact, die, the first question out of her mouth is wondering if her grandmother did anything crazy.
- Geleth Pa'Dar in the Star Trek novel The Never-Ending Sacrifice. A product of the traditional Cardassia, where life was a struggle for survival on a starving planet, she is utterly ruthless and quite unrepentant about it. At one point, she suggests with total ease and in full seriousness that her son should have her grandson killed. Said grandson, Rugal, ends up in an ongoing battle of wills with Geleth after coming to live in the family home. Finally, she dies of old age — after sharing her secrets with Rugal on her deathbed. Said secrets involve, among other things, casually having an innocent man arrested and executed on false charges.
- In Star Trek: Forged in Fire, Lady of the House Moj'ih would rather kill her albino baby than allow his condition to bring shame to the family. She is following Klingon custom here; the Honor Before Reason nature of her culture blunts the individual evil to some extent. She still fits the trope, though.
- The Mouse Queen in The Nutcracker, who is responsible for... well, everything.
- Beth Jarrett, from the novel/The Film of the Book Ordinary People. While her motivations are made a bit clearer in the novel (she explicitly says that she isn't able to forgive her youngest son Conrad for the messiness of his suicide attempt, believing that the sight of all that blood was meant to kill her, too), the movie keeps it vaguer, merely implying that the death of her favorite son has left her unable to love anyone. This, coupled with the fact that she's portrayed by a Playing Against Type Mary Tyler Moore, makes her come across as a lot more evil.
- Regan Hamleigh in The Pillars of the Earth. A kind of Lady Macbeth type, she manipulates husband and son into doing her will.
- Oonagh of The Sevenwaters Trilogy, formerly an evil stepmother, becomes this once she has a son and granddaughter to manipulate.
- Queen Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. Many of her villainous deeds stem from protecting her children, but mostly from a prophecy about her years ago. She would outlive all of her children who would die as kings and queens, and she would be overthrown by a younger queen, and killed by one of her siblings.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has Ta'a Chume, the queen of the Hapes Cluster, who assassinates her own sons so that Isolder would take the throne. Then she plans to seduce her future daughter-in-law's brother and kill him. Then after her son finds another woman and Leia marries Han, she tries to kill granddaughter and great-granddaughter because the former and her boyfriend (a.k.a. the latter's father) are Jedi. note Jacen Mind Rapes her, ending her tyranny. Guess who becomes a Sith in a few years?
- Melesandra DeMarian in The Stone Prince is a cold-blooded ruler who terrifies her son and heir by teaching him and her other children (by bloody example) to be as ruthless as her.
- Mapleshade from Warrior Cats. What drove her to evil was when, after she was exiled from ThunderClan for having a RiverClan mate, her kits drowned in the river. Her mate blames her for this, and she ends up getting exiled from RiverClan as well.
- Gisella from S. M. Peters's Whitechapel Gods, who is little seen but for her effect upon Missy. She ran a brothel, taking in girls from the street that she personally mentally abused (to the point Missy hears Gisella's voice in her head denigrating her all the time), but subcontracted some more mental and physical abuse to John Scared, primary antagonist, nicknamed the "hobgoblin man" by the girls. Gisella would force the girls to drink something akin to a date-rape drug, so when Scared came by to properly "train" the girls, they experienced it as some kind of horrific nightmare from which they couldn't escape.
- Marisa Coulter from His Dark Materials wishes to have her daughter live with her, but isn't beyond killing her when she learns her offspring is the chosen one. At least initially. Regardless of how much she tries to redeem by the end of the series, Lyra never stops viewing her as an enemy.
- Mrs Herriton in Where Angels Fear To Tread will go to any lengths to uphold the family reputation.
- Prim from the Evillious Chronicles, although this isn't expanded on until the revelations in Praeludium Of Red and Praefacio Of Blue where it becomes apparent she raped the king of Lucifenia and used the resulting child as little more than a spy slave, manipulated every aspect of her son's life to make him a king he didn't want to be (including letting him get possessed by a demon), and triggered 20 years of international warfare just to get back at a former friend. Who was already dead halfway through those 20 years.
- In The Caster Chronicles, Lena's mother is Sarafine, who is considered one of the Darkest Casters ever and proves this by very briefly killing Ethan in Beautiful Creatures. Then she gets worse.
- Joe Pickett: Brenda Cates in Endangered. She has all of the men in her family bent to her will and willing to commit murder for her.
- The Haunting: Great-grandmother Scholar is largely crotchety, but her darker nature comes out as it's revealed that she neglected and browbeated Great Uncle Cole in an effort to get him to forsake his magic.
- Catherine of Medici, widow of Henry II of France, longtime regent for her sons Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, and mother-in-law to the future Henry IV, is usually portrayed as an evil matriarch in fictional treatments of her era, the most famous of which are La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas and Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre ("The Youth of King Henri Quatre") by Heinrich Mann. Just exactly how evil this matriarch is made out to be beyond her involvement in the Night of Saint Bartholomew depends on the writer, but it certainly is quite common to accuse her of poisoning her enemies, since that is something many of her contemporaries suspected her of — after all, she came from Italy!
- In the novel Goya by Lion Feuchtwanger, Maria Luisa of Parma, consort of King Charles IV of Spain, clearly fulfills the "matriarch" part, being the mother of fourteen children and largely controlling her husband, but is probably far too stupid and besotted with her favourite, Manuel Godoy, to be truly considered evil.
Live Action TV
- Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development. She's even explicitly described as a matriarch a few times.
- Stephanie Forrester from The Bold and the Beautiful is a clear example of this trope, having spent 22 years trying to drive Brooke Logan out of her family after Brooke married both her husband and later two of her sons. Her worst crimes include hiring a man to make Brooke look like an unfit parent who eventually ended up raping Brooke (though to be fair, Stephanie had no idea what the man was capable of) and attempting to poison another woman who was pregnant with her son's child, thus making her guilty of attempted murder of her own grandchild.
- Carmen Vega from the Breakout Kings episode "Where in the World is Carmen Vega?". Head of a drug cartel, she arranges the murder of one son so she can get out of prison to attend his funeral, where she stages an escape. She later murders the father of her second son.
- While Penny Halliwell from Charmed is on the side of good, she heavily blurs the line of this trope. It's heavily implied she was a stern and strict woman to grow up with, one episode implies that she used her magic to get rid of a boyfriend of Prue's she didn't like. She's also shown to be very bitter and hostile towards men, bordering on emotional abuse: she was even ready to disown her own grandson for not being a girl. This is balanced out by her being heroic on various occasions.
- CSI is fond of this trope, from an episode in the first season where a mother drowns her daughter on a carnival ride, and in the episode 'Forever', where a mother convinces her daughter and boyfriend to commit suicide.
- Desperate Housewives has several examples of bad parenting, but Gloria Hodge and Barbara Orlofsky really tie for the first place. The former went to awful lengths to make her son remarry his ex-wife, even planning his rape and attempting to kill Bree. The latter's alcoholism and cruel behavior turned her son Eddie into a serial killer.
- Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, from Downton Abbey is a Machiavellian manipulator willing to go to considerable lengths to keep her family and its honor safe. Although her heart is usually in the right place, she plays up the part of Evil Matriarch for effect.
- By the time of the Everybody Loves Raymond story, the condescending smotherer Marie dwells in a house directly across the street from her son's family and is constantly dropping by on her every whim and fancy.
Ray: "Amy, here's how I see all this stuff. Mom loves the family. She really does. And—and, and she thinks it's her job to hold it all together. Does she overreact occasionally? Okay. So she wants you to write a few thank you notes, she's an old lady, what else does she have? (Beat) Besides, before even giving up a drop of power, she will truly kill us all."
- Helena Cassadine from General Hospital. Head of a Greco-Russian almost-royal family, after the death of her not-so-loved husband Mikos, decided to get revenge and started killing for sport. Her unforgettable rivalry with GH's most famous super couple Luke and Laura, began when she cursed them at their wedding in the 80's. She reappeared again in 1996, with all the intentions to make life miserable to everyone in her family, especially her much hated son Stefan and her bastard step-daughter Alexis. Usually, when something evil happens in Port Charles, it's her fault. She stole, lied, cheated, killed, swapped DNA results, and even hibernated her beloved son Stavros (who everyone had thought had died, and thanks to her, appeared very much alive in 2001). Mortal enemy to Luke Spencer who tried to kill her more than once.
- George Lopez's grandmother, both on the TV show and in real life.
- Gilmore Girls: Once Lorelai Gilmore reluctantly re-opens relations with her mother, Emily Gilmore is quickly revealed not only as a near-definitional example of Type 1 (oh, how Lorelai and Rory dread those family dinners!) but has strong shadings of Type 2, as well.
- Vengeance is gained when Emily's Type 1 mother-in-law visits.
- Emily is often portrayed sympathetically, however. Though manipulative, she does really want what's best for her family, and much (though not all) of her and Lorelai's strained relationship comes due to either personality clashes or Values Dissonance rather than hatred.
- Lily van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl shows this only in shades. However, Lily's mother, Serena's and Eric's grandmother, "Ce Ce Rhodes", definitely leans straight toward this trope.
- Angela Petrelli from Heroes. All her actions have shady motivations and she's not above using her children if the end justified the means (even considering killing one son at one point).
- In light of the events of V3, however, it's difficult to figure out if Angela was always such a Cold Hard Bitch, or became one after she found out that her husband had been mind-controlling her for years, mind-raping her into going along with the aforementioned (narrowly averted) Offing the Offspring.
- Christine Jones from Home and Away certainly falls into Type 2. She has invaded her daughter's privacy, invaded the privacy of her daughter's teacher, attempted to use her daughter Melody as an example of Miles' apparent corruption of schoolkids (by way of Spring Awakening), taken out an AVO against Geoff, ignored the fact that Melody was raped, institutionalized Melody after her rapist died, withdrew her daughter from the subsequent counseling (causing a nasty case of anorexia), attempted an exorcism, and then kidnapped Melody. Parent of the Year award right there.
- As mentioned in Literature, Livia Drusilla, magnificently played by Siân Phillips in the miniseries I, Claudius.
- Possible allusion at the end of an episode of Midsomer Murders: Siân Phillips's character is arrested for shooting someone, and remarks, "You haven't said anything about my husband's death." Detective: "Your husband died of a heart attack." Her: "Oh. Yes. Quite."
- Shirl Hennessey in the Australian 1994-5 TV mini-series Janus (based on real-life criminal Kath Pettingill; known as Granny Evil, head of a notorious Melbourne criminal family).
- Mags Bennett in season two of Justified controls all the marijuana operations in Harlan County, and while she seems like a nice woman, she is actually Affably Evil.
- If you grow pot without her permission, she will send her sons to force you to put your foot in a bear trap
- If you do something to hurt her business, she will have a nice chat with you and then give you some of her poisoned moonshine.
- If one of her sons does something stupid that might expose the murders they committed, she will settle for personally breaking his hand with a hammer.
- An episode of Lois and Clark featured the mother of a deceased criminal known as "Bad Brain Johnson". To try and get her attention, her unfavourite second son built a fully functional mind control machine, to offer her the whole world as a gift. Not only was he met with equal disdain as usual, but not even the machine at full power could force her to tell her son she loved him.
- On Lost, Jacob and MIB are fraternal twins raised on the island by "Mother", played by Allison Janney. She actually killed their real mother, a shipwrecked pregnant woman, right after they were born. She then lies to them about there being nothing across the sea and stops any attempt by MIB to leave, including killing all the shipwrecked castaways helping him. All so that either Jacob or MIB can take over being guardian of the island.
- Queen Mab, the ruler of The Fair Folk in the Merlin (1998) series, especially towards the title character.
- Jane the "Nana from Hell" on The New Normal. She is racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic, as well as condescending and often directly insulting to her granddaughter Goldie and great-granddaughter Shania. When her grandson-in-law Clay cheats on Goldie, she threatens him with a gun. But later she attempts to hook him back up with Goldie when the latter moves to L.A. and decides to become a surrogate mother for a gay couple.
- Erica Noughton, Julia's mother on Nip/Tuck: witty, intelligent, and a great person to have a drink with — unless you happen to be her daughter. It's heavily implied that her criticism and emotional absence are responsible for Julia's extreme insecurity.
- Cora, the mother of the Evil Queen Regina herself, in Once Upon a Time. She has no qualms about putting a child at risk (by causing child Snow's horse to run away) to promote her agenda for her daughter's life, and when Regina wants to actually choose her own husband, Mom kills the man her daughter loves, then Mom strongarms her into marrying a man she's not interested in just because he's King.
- When Red's mother shows up in season two, she seems like she's nice and supportive. She's not evil per se, but her Proud Warrior Race Girl and Humans Are the Real Monsters attitude puts her in direct contrast with her daughter. Her decision to go Bitch in Sheep's Clothing by killing Snow, who didn't do anything wrong, ends up getting her killed by Red.
- Victoria Grayson, the matriarch of the Grayson family, from Revenge fits the second variety of this trope to a T.
- Rome's Atia of the Julii is another ancient Evil Matriarch. She uses sex to get what she wants, verbally abuses her children and everyone around her, arranges the murder of her daughter's ex-husband (whom her daughter still loved), and sabotages her uncle's romance. (Oddly enough, some of these actions might have been prompted by a sincere desire to help her family, but her motivations are, for the most part, selfish.)
- Servilia, from that same series, isn't exactly a paragon of virtue either.
- Roseanne's mom from Roseanne started out as an Evil Matriarch, but eventually turned into The Ditz as she became a Recurring Character.
- Barbara Eden (best known for I Dream of Jeannie) played the Evil Matriarch of the Spellman Clan in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, whose appearances were usually preceded by something unexpectedly (insofar as the word can be applied in this show) freezing in anticipation of her icy demeanor. Elizabeth Montgomery, had she still been alive, might have been a more natural choice, as her character's mother on Bewitched (played by Agnes Moorehead) is archetypal of the Evil Matriarch.
- The novelisations expand upon Hilda and Zelda's mother's personality and make her into one of these. In the show she already blatantly favoured Vesta over the two of them and heaped centuries of emotional abuse on Hilda. In the novelisations it's revealed she once turned a beau of Hilda's into stone because she didn't want Hilda to confess her secret to him.
- Genevieve Teague of Season 4 of Smallville, to her son, Jason, whom she controlled through a mix of psychological torture and financial abuse, so thoroughly ruining his self-esteem that he can barely function without her. She's also the season's Big Bad, and Distaff Counterpart to Abusive Parent & Archnemesis Dad, Lionel Luthor.
- Sons of Anarchy features Gemma Teller Morrow, who supplies her son's junkie ex-wife with heroin (in order to damage her health or kill her, keeping her away from the new baby), smashes a skateboard into the face of a girl she suspects is sleeping with her husband, and just generally manipulates people all over the place.
- And depending on how you view her motivations, she takes it up to eleven at the end of season six, attempting to drown Jax's wife Tara for allegedly ratting out the MC to the police and wanting to take away Gemma's grandchildren, and when that doesn't work, Gemma settles for stabbing Tara to death in the head with a barbecue fork.
- Livia Soprano from The Sopranos takes pleasure in tormenting people around her, especially her son Tony. She even tries to off him once.
- Jack Donaghy's mother Colleen on 30 Rock. He once told her that "there are terrorist cells more nurturing than you."
- Charlie and Alan's mother in Two and a Half Men (as well as one of Charlie's girlfriends, much to everyone else's amusement and horror).
- Played with in Up All Night episode named "Parents". Reagen dreads a visit from her mother, and is annoyed by her. Also, Reagen's mother is proud of how she brought up Reagen and writes a book about it, which annoys Reagen even more. Averted by the end of the episode, because Reagen's mother realizes what she was doing wrong after she has a heart to heart talk with Reagen and becomes more supportive.
- Pops a lot in Hispanic Soap Operas as the typical castrating mother of the male lead, but the best and biggest one in malevolence is Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna De Lobos. For her, "Family Name" comes before everything (including fortune and love), and because of that she is not shy in committing murder, lying barefaced, and manipulating everything and everyone around her. She even has an Eyepatch of Power which makes her look more sinister (and the patch is a plot point in itself)!
- The Wire gives us De'londa Brice, who forces her son to become a drug dealer to support her decadent lifestyle.
- The mother of the Peacock family (Ma Barker meets Deliverance) in The X-Files episode "Home".
- 24: Live Another Day has Margot Al-Harazi, widow of a terrorist who, alongside her family, is seeking to kill the U.S. President for agreeing to the operation that led to the death of her husband. She is also not above Offing the Offspring.
- Whoopie Goldburg portrays a version of one in the Law & Order Franchise, running a center where she takes in and raises disenfranchised youths, primarily black. To the public she's a great philanthropist but in secret she's raised the young boys and men into thieves and killers to serve her using their love for her to manipulate them such that none of them can be convinced into speaking against her and will even kill themselves for her. As a result it is one of the few downer endings in the series where the police know her for who and what she is but are forced to let her go as they can't prove it.
- Frontier Circus: In "Mighty Like Rogues", a family of thieves joins the T & T Circus and attempts to pick it clean. The main instigator is the mother, who urges her less willing children into crime.
- Possibly the classic BattleTech example would be Romano Liao. Interestingly, she probably couldn't be considered her son Sun-Tzu's enemy as such...but there's little doubt that growing up as the son of a crazy fanatic holding her Successor State together by such time-proven methods as trusting no one and "purging" whomever she as much as suspected of wrongdoing must have been pretty much Hell for a remarkably rational offspring of that particular branch of the family tree.
- Bernarda Alba from García Lorca's play La casa de Bernarda Alba ("The House of Bernarda Alba"). Even in the 1930, when all the values this woman embodied were still living in the deepest of Spain's countryside, she still managed to come as too oppressive, coldhearted, cruel, and smothering (and not only for her old maid), to the point of killing her youngest daughter, Adela, when she openly defies her and tries to run away... and then happily claiming "My daughter, she dies a virgin!".
- In an earlier adaptation of this period in history, the titular character from G.F. Händel's 1709 opera Agrippina is similarly preoccupied with securing the throne for her son Nero. Expertly manipulating everyone around her, she manages to maneuver around a number of setbacks — such as her husband, the emperor Claudius, surviving the shipwreck that was supposed to have killed him — at the expense of the only morally upright character in the entire piece. In contrast to the other Roman examples listed here, the opera's happy ending allows for Agrippina's scheming to be played for (admittedly pretty nasty) comedy.
- The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute. She uses the Wounded Gazelle Gambit to engage Tamino to kill Sarastro, ostensibly because Sarastro has kidnapped her daughter Pamina. When that fails, she goes to Pamina herself and tells her to murder Sarastro, or forever be disowned. She doesn't even try to help her daughter escape.
- The Oresteia. This is the play where a woman and her boyfriend plot to kill her husband, and then her children kill them.
- William Shakespeare of course also has a few:
- The Binding of Isaac has Isaac's mother, who one day has an epiphany from God (likely due to watching too much Christian broadcasting) and decides to sacrifice her son to the lord. It's implied that she's done this before with other children.
- BioShock 2. Sofia Lamb. Watching her heroic daughter Eleanor kill her in all endings (except the "Good" ending) was glorious.
- Queen Zeal of Chrono Trigger isn't evil just towards the world at large; she shows nothing but contempt for her children, using them as tools to acquire further power and disposing of them when they're no longer needed.
- She wasn't always like this; it's implied that a combination of her husband's death and the malevolent power of Lavos is what corrupted her.
- Diablo III gives us Adria, the Witch of Tristram. Despite being the secondary protagonist's birth mother and a traditional aid to the player character, she allows them to destroy two Demon Lords and their armies before betraying the player, killing several allies and using her own daughter as the vessel for her dark master to be reborn as the embodiment of all evil. She performs a double-bluff in some respects, as she is openly a harsh and unpleasant individual, and is not depicted as particularly charismatic or powerful — an average spellcaster at best. She is, however, a cruel liar, and uses her record of trauma and tragedy to draw suspicion away from her true agenda.
- Flemeth of Dragon Age is Morrigan's mother and Ambiguously Evil at best, but she and Morrigan don't really like each other and fully expect to come to blows one day. Whatever affection Morrigan still had for her goes out the window when she discovers that Flemeth's immortality comes from possessing the bodies of her own children. After that, Morrigan asks the Warden to (temporarily) kill Flemeth while she makes longer-term plans. The third game complicates this: Flemeth, while still extremely manipulative, tells Morrigan that she could never have possessed an unwilling host, and is willing to let Morrigan (and her son, if he exists) go free.
- It's heavily implied that Flemeth's treatment of Morrigan is more of Tough Love, judging her sorrowful reaction when Morrigan (particularly if she becomes a mother) angrily states that she will never be the mother Flemeth was to her/calmly telling Flemeth that Kieran will be better off without her just as she was better off without Flemeth.
- Maven Black-Briar in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. She has had employees killed simply because they don't do their job well enough, and actively seeks to blackmail or murder her business rivals. She is grooming her son Hemming to take over the family's business empire, and her connections enable her to have her grandson Sibbi set up with a Luxury Prison Suite and a shorter sentence despite him having commited murder. Maven is essentially The Don, and controls much of her home city of Riften through the Thieves' Guild and The Dark Brotherhood.
- Fallout: New Vegas gives us the Affably Evil and matronly Jeannie May Crawford, mayor of the town of Novac, who sells the pregnant wife of Craig Boone, one of the town's guardian snipers, into slavery with Caesar's Legion and gave the Legion information concerning how to sneak past Boone while he was on duty to take his wife. It's implied Crawford did so because Carla, Boone's wife, made it clear she was unhappy with the small town of Novac and wanted to return to New Vegas, where she and her husband had met. Boone will give the player a quest that, if it ends the 'right' way, results in Jeannie May getting a Boom, Headshot from Boone while standing right next to the Courier.
- Played with in Final Fantasy VII. The main antagonist, Sephiroth, is carrying out of the will of his 'mother', the remains of a woman who belonged to the dead Cetra civilization. Sephy's info is a little out of date: The doctors who discovered the body assumed it was Cetra, as it was found at the site of their old home. The Shinra Power Company hoped to clone "her" and make the Cetra live again, but quickly realized that Jenova wasn't human at all: it's a mimetic monster who took on the guise of the Cetra to prey on them. Undeterred, Shinra sampled Jenova's cells to create a line of super-soldiers, the most successful of which was Sephiroth.
- Queen Brahne from Final Fantasy IX.
- Sorceress Edea from Final Fantasy VIII. She's actually under Ultimecia's control all those times.
- Hilda from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Tortures her sister-in-law Tiltyu and her daughter Tinny for good measure (and if Tiltyu dies childless, she tortures her other sister in law Ethnia and her daughter Linda), and while she keeps saying it's to punish traitors, deep down, she just enjoys torturing. The result becomes obvious. Tiltyu (or Ethnia) becomes extremely broken and cries everyday until she dies from sickness, and Tinny (or Linda) ends up as a Shrinking Violet. And then, Hilda keeps pressuring her blood daughter and local Dark Magical Girl Ishtar to marry her boyfriend Julius, the Imperial Prince of Grandbell, just so she can get more links and power from the Emperor. And in Thracia 776, it's revealed that even her husband Blume does not support child hunts... but she supports it wholeheartedly. But she makes the fatal mistake of underestimating Arthur (or Amid)... and Tinny herself (or Linda).
- Succeeding Hilda would be Sonia from Blazing Sword. Not only is she sadistic and manipulative, but she constantly verbally abuses her adopted daughter Nino, and when she isn't doing that, she's neglecting her instead. It eventually comes to the point where she secretly plots to have Nino killed just after promising to hug her if she completes her mission. To hammer the point home, when Nino confronts her later, she freely admits to having slain Nino's real family when Nino was just a baby, and even says she would have killed Nino too had Nergal not told her to raise her.
- Dorothy in Galerians is of the "so evil, she abuses her own loyal children" variety.
- The Mad Queen in Malicious: this mother of two was once a good Queen, but then her children died by the hands of their own father, King Eldrake. The tyrant father inflicted death on his children and rage on his wife; from that point on, Queen Ashlelei turned insane and got the power to kill the King and of all of those who supported him. She too became corrupt over time and her two chilren were resurrected to fight against their mother.
- Variation with Benezia in Mass Effect, as she is eventually revealed to be indoctrinated by Sovereign.
- Benezia actually earns triple points for this: Not only is she an evil (alright, convincingly mind-controlled) matriarch, but she is actually called Matriarch Benezia (it's her official title); is a literal mother to one of the main characters (who she tries to kill, still not of her free will); and is even caught conducting mind control and breeding experiments on an insectoid race (which, if successful, would have made her a literal Hive Queen). However, her final words to her daughter Liara after having her mind cleared subvert this, saying that she's always been proud of her.
- Morgan Fey in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All. Pearl's mother and Maya's Evil Aunt.
- Silent Hill seems to have a thing for this trope. Dahlia Gillespie and Margaret Holloway could very well be friends with Sofia Lamb, considering their willingless to torture, abuse, and sacrifice their own daughters in ways that makes the devil shiver. By far, the least awful mother in the series is Walter Sullivan's mother, who had the decency of just abandoning him in an apartment, rather than sacrificing him to some God of Evil, Eldritch Abomination, The Devil, or whatever the Order worships.
- Duminuss in Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden. Forcing her children that dedicate their lives to her to MERGE with her despite their own wishes, and later dismissed them as just mere pawns that she can throw away any time....
- SHODAN from the System Shock franchise obsesses over power. She plans to rule the whole planet in the worst dictatorship possible: The extermination of all human life.
- Various "Big Bad" characters from Touhou have shades of this, since the setting has an Improbably Female Cast. Eirin treats her disciple Reisen like, um, dirt (mostly Played for Laughs); Yuyuko is quite eccentric much to Youmu's woe. Yukari uses Reimu and Kanako uses Sanae, respectively, in their proxy conflict for supremacy over Gensokyo.
- Hazel Green in College Roomies from Hell!!!: Her children refer to her as 'The Dragon', and she lives up to the name, having them followed by her private agents, using brainwashing, blackmail and intimidation to manipulate them, and having her daughter's would-be boyfriend (and roommate of her eldest biological son) kidnapped, and implanting an explosive tracking device on him.
- Deconstructed in Corner Alley 13, wherein drow society is revealed to be so backstabbingly treacherous (the Klingon Promotion being their standard method of electing new leaders) that even the nicest of matriarchs are forced to become vicious tyrants to keep their positions and their heads. The villain of the first arc turns out to be quite sympathetic because of this.
- Destania and Cyra, Dan's mother and grandmother from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . They do, however, care for their family.
- Girl Genius has Lucrezia Mongfish, aka the Other, who is both the heroine Agatha's mother and the comic's Big Bad.
- Also 'Grandmother', of the extended Valois family. Even the most scheming and murderous of the family seem to be scared of her. She seems fairly benign so far, but the reactions of people around her suggest that this isn't the case.
- In Homestuck, Nanna Egbert and Grandpa Harley were raised by Betty Crocker after Grandpa accidentally killed her husband. This sort of thing is exactly why babies should not be allowed to dual-wield flintlock pistols. She apparently wasn't very kind to either of them, and was even harsher on Nanna when Grandpa ran away to explore the world. It turns out that she was the former empress of Alternia.
- Jamie's mom from Khaos Komix, what with the way she knew that her son was being molested by his neighbor but didn't do anything about it other than move to a different town.
- Hannelore's mother in Questionable Content. Her visit is this trope non-stop.
- Every mother that appears, or is even mentioned, in the web comic Ugly Hill, is one of these — often taken to ludicrous and downright scary extremes. One almost wonders if the author has some Freudian Excuse for this... or maybe it just comes down to the fact that every character in the comic is a literal monster.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Omaroch's mother is the demonic Grand Duchess who wishes to unite the bickering demon hordes under one banner and use the demons' combined strength to enslave other races. The two clash, as Omaroch wishes to keep his non-demonic friends safe even if it means opposing his mother.
- Santeria Decuir in The Gungan Council, a former Sith and the High Priestess of the Nightsisters. Also leads one of the largest families to ever appear on the site.
- The mother of The Nostalgia Critic and Ask That Guy with the Glasses, who seems to prefer the manipulative Why Did You Make Me Hit You? kind of abuse to the more physical kind.
- Toki originally, before she changed personality, but the imprint is still there.
- Phase's mother Helen Hilton-Goodkind in the Whateley Universe. When Phase manifests as a mutant, Helen turns Phase over to a Mad Scientist for experimentation. Phase is fully aware that his mother is never going to speak to him again.
- Ultra Fast Pony portrays Granny Smith as the head of the Apple crime family. Aside from the offscreen villainy she presumably engages in as a mob head, she alternates between messing with her granddaughter Apple Bloom's head and peeing on her. She even casually mentions that she used to eat babies.
- The Most Popular Girls in School: Mrs. Van Buren has shades of this since she eagerly helps Shay, Mikayla, and Deandra in their plots to humiliate the Cheerleaders, even lecturing them on the proper way to spike their energy drinks with laxatives and the correct time to do so.
- Dr. David Dave's mother from As Told by Ginger.
- Combine this with Yandere and One-Winged Angel and you get the Other Mother from Coraline.
- Mama Cosma, from The Fairly OddParents, Depending on the Writer.
- Futurama's Mom. (Pictured above.) Bonus points for having the hairstyle of Lady Tremaine.
- In-law examples: Peggy's mother and Minh's father in King of the Hill.
- Agnes Skinner, Seymour Skinner's mother, from The Simpsons.
- Sheila Broflovski on South Park, at least in earlier seasons.
- Lady Imperia, the aunt of Prince Gerard, who in The Smurfs episode "The Clockwork Smurf" attempts to be coronated as queen in her nephew's place.
- Another male example: The Warden's father in Superjail!. It should be a good thing he died long before the events of the series and is only shown in flashbacks. Combined with Jerk Ass.
- Malory Archer, the mother of Sterling Archer, who is the reason why Archer is...Archer. Malory has set up many awful and stupid acts (like killing the Prime Minister of Italy, or not paying her employees enough), and uses ISIS own money for her excesses. Worst of all, she's trying to pass down her worst traits to her infant granddaughter.
- Nerissa from W.I.T.C.H. is revealed in season 2 to be Caleb's Missing Mom. He's not happy.