"Caligula preserved his uncle Claudius mainly as a butt for practical jokes."We know about the Evil Uncle. It looks like nephews in these families have 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 who get badly treated, sometimes they are the Butt Monkey, 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 be The Caligula and treat the uncle badly. Often associated with The Evil Prince.
—Suetonius, "Life of Caligula", The Twelve Caesars (Robert Graves trans.)
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- In Action Comics #293 Prince Endor of a planet of Sorcerers is nearly overthrown by his nephew Lord Nomed, who uses magic to remove a winged horse's flight, as Endor being unable to lead the procession on a flying horse means he'll lose the throne. Fortunately, Comet the Super-Horse is able to take their place.
- Darkseid came to power by basically arranging a situation where his uncle Steppenwolf, next in line to the throne, was killed in battle with Highfather. Interesting in that everyone in Apokolips is evil. Even the Lowlies, to a degree. Darkseid is just the most evil figure out of all of them.
- In Dragon Bones, everyone thinks Ward is this and intends to kill his uncle in order to inherit castle Hurog. He isn't, and is quite a bit frustrated with everyone so readily believing that he would do something so horrible.
- In Herodotus' Histories, Xerxes (yes the one from 300) has elements of this. When his Uncle Artabanus criticises his plan to invade Greece Xerxes tells him to stay at home with the women and says that if Artabanus wasn't his uncle he would suffer even more. Then averted, as the next day Xerxes has reconsidered and apologizes.
- King Arthur from the legend was betrayed and ran through by Mordred, who in some legends is his nephew through a sister.
- Geoffrey's History also has Cordelia (who inspired the character in King Lear) getting overthrown by her two nephews Cunedagius and Marganus and killing herself in prison. However those two turn out to be terrible cousins, and after the older one, Marganus, tries to take the other half of Britain Cunedagius kills him.
- Arthur's cousin and successor Constantine III of Britain is also overthrown by his nephew Aurelius Conanus, who imprisons another Uncle that should have succeeded and kills both their sons.
- 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 he has become a slave.
- Joffrey in A Song of Ice and Fire, especially to his uncle Tyrion. He insults and humiliates him at every opportunity, threatens to rape their wife (his aunt by marriage), and serve her her murdered brother's head, and even possibly plotted to have him killed. Ironically enough more people in Westeros think Tyrion is the evil one, blaming him for his nephew's bad reign and Joffrey's death. Tyrion ends up saying though he didn't kill his nephew he wishes he had and took a lot of pleasure in watching them die.
- Jaime wonders if his sister Cersei will be an Evil Niece and be prepared to have their uncle Kevan Lannister murdered as he seems to know about their affair. Later, when Varys murders Kevan he says the Tyrells will blame Cersei for it.
- In "Wyrd Sisters", the ghost of King Champot of Lancre mentions when he was asleep his nephew chopped his head off.
- Voldemort, the Big Bad of the Harry Potter series. He framed his Uncle Morfin Gaunt for the murder of the Riddle Family and altered Morfin's memories so he believed he'd done this, meaning Morfin spent the rest of his life in Azkaban. Of course, Morfin himself was a psychotic Pure-blood fanatic, but Dumbledore claims he didn't deserve to die like this.
- From The Silmarillion by Tolkien is Maeglin. He is the sister-son of Turgon, King of Gondolin. As his love for Turgon's daughter isn't permitted he rebels against his Uncle after Idril marries Tuor and ends up betraying Gondolin to Morgoth, leading to Turgon's death.
Live Action TV
- Caligula from I, Claudius. He treats his Uncle Claudius badly, among other acts. He humiliates him, 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.
- Gender-Flipped example. Later Agrippina, niece and wife of Claudius, poisons him so her son Nero can become Emperor. However Claudius knows she is planning to murder him, which is part of his Thanatos Gambit to restore the Republic.
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.
- Odin and Loki in original Norse Mythology were blood brothers, despite what is shown in Marvel Comics. One of Loki's sons, the Wolf Fenrir, would eventually devour Odin at Ragnarökkr. And for the Comic version another of Loki's sons, the Midgard Serpent Jörmungandr would eventually kill Thor, though die itself.
- 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.