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Evil Sorcerer
aka: Evil Wizard

"Within the navel of this hideous wood,
Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries,
And here to every thirsty wanderer
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likeness of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
Charactered in the face."

The Evil Sorcerer is the living (or occasionally undead) proof of the maxim that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

He, or sometimes she, is the mage who has delved too deeply into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and mastered The Dark Arts. He has achieved great power, but at the expense of his soul. He deals in Black Magic and might well have made a Deal with the Devil. Evil Sorcerers are very dangerous foes, as they are creative as well as clever. From them, one can expect anything; hordes of demonic Mooks as the bluntest tool, More Than Mind Control as the subtlest one, and anything between those two and beyond. He will probably be a Sorcerous Overlord, dwelling in an Evil Tower of Ominousness and ruling the land with an iron - but also magical - fist, though he may also show up as an Evil Chancellor, using his powers to subvert the throne more subtly.

The Evil Sorcerer nearly always gets top billing as a villain, as one of his most common traits is pride. Where he is a second-stringer, he's likely to only be one-upped by a demonic bargain gone wrong — probably because he cheated. This makes him prone to learning the painful lesson that Evil Is Not a Toy. He might also be upstaged by a God of Evil- but then, the most powerful Evil Sorcerers often have ambitions on godhood themselves. In a villainous hierarchy, he'll most likely be the Big Bad, The Dragon, or the Evil Genius (though he could also be The Man Behind the Man or, if he has little loyalty to any particular faction, the Wild Card). Killing the Evil Sorcerer is one way to stop his Keystone Army.

The Evil Sorcerer can be at several levels of the Super Weight scale (depending on how strong magic is in a given setting) but he'll almost always be far more powerful than the heroes (unless they manage to get physical with him), and will probably be at least superficially stronger than his good counterparts (owing to possessing powers that they can't or won't use). If he's an Evil Archmage, everybody should watch out.

It's likely that every sorcerer will be this if Magic is Evil. Compare the Wicked Witch and (for the more modern descendant) Mad Scientist. An undead Evil Sorcerer will probably be called a Lich.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • The first movie of Cardcaptor Sakura had Clow Reed's former student Madoushi, particularly in the dub (where she was also his girlfriend at one point).
  • Babidi and his late father Bibidi from Dragon Ball Z.
  • Precia Testarossa of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who also has Mad Scientist leanings thanks to the Magitek setting.
  • The Mage of Beginnings from Mahou Sensei Negima!, the resident Big Bad during the days of Nagi's Ala Rubra.
    • In-story, most mages think Evangeline is like this, but those who have actually met her know that she's really not so bad.
  • Wagnard from Record of Lodoss War. He starts off as a normal man who's just a little too eager to gain arcane knowledge, but decades of dealing with the forces of darkness eventually turn him into a fiendish figure with pointed ears and claws. The wizard Groder edges on this trope since he ostensibly serves Wagnard, but he's more of a sympathetic Anti-Villain due to his loyalty to Ashram. Two minor characters, the evil cleric Gaberra and dark elf shaman Astar, also fit the bill.
  • In Magi - Labyrinth of Magic, many members of Al-Sarmen qualify as this, but the most notable example is Judar.

    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Grateful Beasts, Ferko's brothers slander him, claiming he's this.
  • Aladdin is sent into the cave by one.
    • And then his brother (the sorcerer's, not Aladdin's) who's also an Evil Sorcerer shows up.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Queen Bavmorda from Willow.
  • Profion from the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
  • The title character from the Warlock series of movies is a servant of Satan, tries to destroy the world, and kills and mutilates innocent people for fun.
  • Prince Loki in Thor.
  • Rasputin in the film adaptation of Hellboy.
  • Given that the movies are Heroic Fantasy in a Space Opera setting, The Emperor of Star Wars could be described as one of these. This is a major temptation for Anakin Skywalker as well. Essentially, the Sith come in two flavors: those who are the Evil Counterpart of the Jedi, with an emphasis on lightsaber fighting and visceral use of the force, and those who are Evil Sorcerers, who tend more to the "create horrible twisted mockeries of nature" end of the Dark Side spectrum.
  • Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child.
  • Subverted in the new Sherlock Holmes film- Lord Blackwood is a practicing occultist, highly ranked member of an Ancient Conspiracy, and has designs on the British crown, but all his "powers" are just smoke and mirrors.
  • Gallian in In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Interestingly, the king's own magus Merick is surprised that Gallian has any magic at all, as a magus's power comes from serving a king. However, Gallian has managed to find a loophole. He has named himself the king of the beastly Krug (after magically uplifting them) and, thus, serves himself. It's implied that only a twisted mind like Gallian's could have accepted this enough to allow this to work.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard is one of these, presented as a master practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo capable ofcreating zombies, exercising Mind over Matter power over ships, shrinking captured ships to keep in bottles as trophies, and creating voodoo dolls.
  • Mestema of The Dungeonmaster uses his powers to bring the hero and his girlfriend from Earth to his dimension.
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice has the Morganians, who are an entire group of sorcerer's who follow Morgana's teachings. The key among them, besides Morgana herself, is Maxim Horvath, who is one of Merlin's apprentices until he chose to serve Morgana. Morganians are opposed by Merlinians, the followers of Merlin's teachings that magic is to be used to serve humanity. The film only shows three of them (Balthazar, Veronica, and Dave) and no indication is made that more are (or were) present.
  • The Shadow has Shiwan Khan, the last descendant of Genghis Khan, who was taught by the same teacher (whom Shiwan then killed) as Lamont. In fact, Shiwan is strong enough to cloud the minds of all New Yorkers by making them not see a huge building in the middle of the city. In the end, Lamont proves himself more than a match for Shiwan and has a surgeon friend of his removes Shiwan's Psychic Powers through brain surgery.
  • In Lord Of Illusions, Nix was an evil wizard who had actual magical powers and deemed himself a god. He sees it as his mission to turn the world into a graveyard. He becomes a lich after his cultists revive him.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Cyrus Vail from The Circle of the Black Thorn, a frail, elderly, incredibly powerful warlock.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Mayor Richard Wilkins III and Ethan Rayne.
    • And there are several hints that Giles used to be one as well. Ethan frequently remarks that he never got even close to his old friend in both power and depravity.
    • In Season 8 of Buffy (which crosses over with Fray) it is revealed that Willow will eventually become a female version in the distant future. She is unaware of this, though she tries to stay away from black magic to prevent this.
    • The Master is one, though his magical abilities are more pronounced in supplementary material than the actual series.
  • Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time, who is also known as 'The Dark One'.
  • Turok and Rumina from The Adventures Of Sinbad.
  • Maldis from Farscape.
  • Andre Linoge in the Stephen King miniseries Storm Of The Century is either one of these, or an actual devil.
  • Pacha Camac in Blood Ties is an Incan priest who has himself mummified so that he can be resurrected in the future.
  • Vern and Omen in Dark Oracle. Subverted by Doyle; he's creepy and neurotic, and it is repeatedly suggested that he is the real cause of all the twins' problems. He remains one of the good guys until the end though, becoming a semi-Mentor to the main cast.
    • Blaze and Violet are borderline cases. They definitely have magic of some sort, and ally with Omen and Vern at various points, but said magic is rarely shown.
  • A few from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Lord Zedd, his father-in-law Master Vile, and his son Thrax.
  • Baron de Belleme from Robin of Sherwood.
  • Legend of the Seeker has Darken Rahl, the Big Bad of the first season, who has some magical abilities, not that we see many of those. The one we see several times is his ability to do an Offscreen Teleportation during sword battles to stab the opponent in the back. He also has many sorcerers serving him, including a Wizard of the Second Order named Giller. The Bad Future season finale also features Nicholas Rahl, the son of Darken Rahl and Kahlen Amnell, combining his parents abilities to become an even worse tyrant than his father.
  • Kreel in The Legend Of William Tell.

    Myth And Legend 
  • Morgan le Fey is portrayed this way in most versions of the King Arthur legend.
  • Koschei the Deathless in Russian folklore.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons loves this trope. By campaign setting:
    • Dragonlance: As mentioned above, Raistlin and Fistandantilus.
      • And Dalamar, Maladar, Galan Dracos, most Renegades, and the Order of the Black Robes (though the latter are admittedly often Affably Evil Anti Villains or Anti Heroes, as most are more self-serving and amoral).
    • Forgotten Realms: Halaster Blackcloak, Manshoon(s), the ruling council of the city of Shade, Szass Tam and the rest of the Red Wizards of Thay. And these are just the most notable/infamous. There's probably hundreds of 'em.
    • Greyhawk: Vecna (who eventually ascends to godhood), Rary the Traitor, the infamous Acererak.
      • There is also Iggwilv the Witch Queen, who is considered to be the greatest expert on demons who ever lived. One of her sons is the child of a powerful demon lord and accended to divinity. Even though she's hundreds of years old, she looks not a day older than 40 at most.
    • Mystara: Bargle the Infamous.
    • Ravenloft: Azalin Rex, a Tragic Villain example.
    • Eberron gives us Erandis Vol, an undead half-elf/half-dragon sorceress who founded a cult dedicated to her worship. She is a Dark Messiah who was supposed to bring an end to an ancient war between elves and dragons. It worked, but not the way intended: both races considered her an abomination and joined forces to destroy her family. Vol's mother turned her into a lich, allowing her to survive and seek her revenge.
    • Planescape gave us a few, including Alhison Nilesia, the cruel mistress of the wretched Prison of Sigil, Lothar the Master of Bones, Komosahl Trevant, Alluvius Ruskin, and even a few demons and devils that had taken up wizardry, such as A'kin and Shemeshka. Every Night Hag counts as well, being a race of giant soul-stealing crone witches.
      • Subverted with Factol Skall, who is technically a neutral evil lich, though he is only evil to the extent that his philosophy is that life is irrelevant. He does not kill, but persuades others to accept true death as a release from the woes of life.
      • And of course there are the many, many diabolic powers such as Orcus and Asmodeus, the various gods who can certainly fall into this role, and so on.
  • ...and Magic: The Gathering loves it almost as much. The most prominent is Lim-Dul, the Necromancer, whose hordes of undead and demons plagued the continent of Terisiare during the Ice Age; Lim-Dul is later revealed to be another Evil Sorcerer, Mairsil the Pretender, whose soul had been trapped and possessed an innocent man years later. Lim-Dul was followed shortly after by Heidar of Rimewind, a mad ice wizard who wanted to return the world to a second Ice Age. There's also Lord Dralnu, the Lich-Lord of Urborg, a zombie wizard with whom the forces of good were forced to ally against the invading Phyrexians; Memnarch, an evil artificial being with powerful magical abilities; and Virot Maglan, the Cabal Patriarch, who runs a sorcerous mafia.
    • Big Bad Nicol Bolas takes it Up to Eleven, being an Evil Sorcerer Dragon. He is the oldest and the last of the Elder Dragons in a setting where dragons become more powerful and dangerous with age. While he was originally represented in-game as an "ordinary" legend type creature card (with a special ability that has him Mind Rape the opponent instead of dealing damage), he is now a planeswalker. As in a Physical God.
  • Pathfinder, being a retooled Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, loves this trope oh-so-much. Nex, Geb, Tar-Barphon, Karzoug and six other Runelords, Adivion Adrissant, The Splatter Man, Arazni the Harlot Queen, Areelu Vorlesh, Vordakai, and dozens more are in the setting, filling out the same roles as this trope did in Dungeons & Dragons. It's rare for an adventure not to have at least one, even if they aren't the primary antagonist, and as of late 2013 almost a hundred adventure books (modules and Adventure Paths) have been written.
  • Iuchiban in Legend of the Five Rings.
    • Daigotsu was raised from birth to be the embodiment of this trope. I mean, the guy serves an evil god willingly...
  • Drachenfells, Nagash, Heinrich "the Lichemaster" Kemmler and Ergrimm Von Horstmann from Warhammer. Also, all Chaos sorcerers, necromancers, Vampire lords, Dark Elf warlocks, Tomb King liche priests and Skaven grey seers also count. No, it's not a happy place; whoever gave you THAT idea?
  • Feng Shui's 69 AD juncture is ruled by the Eaters of the Lotus, a sinister cabal of evil eunuch sorcerers and their human and demonic servants. The Four Monarchs, banished to the Netherworld, are another example, except for the smartest one of the lot who's not so bad anymore for someone who ruled 1/4th of the world for centuries with absolute power.
  • Lots of people in Warhammer 40,000, since all the factions are mostly evil, and most of them use sorcery to some extent. Chaos Space Marine sorcerers are the most glaring example, being seven foot tall genetically engineered warriors in power armour, AND having the protection of evil gods, and they hate everybody and want unlimited power. However, they pay a price, suffering ever-increasing madness and horrible mutations such as extra limbs, heads, eyes inside their mouths, etc.
    • The best part about the price they pay? They either don't care or they think it's awesome.
  • The Spirit Of The Century supplement Spirit Of The Season brings magic more fully into the game, and naturally has a couple of magical villains, including Salomon Mizrahi, a evil kabbalist who is convinced he is a Tzadikim Nistarim, one of the 36 Righteous People whose existence supports that of the world. Interestingly, he's actually better at Science! than he is at magic, making him particularly dangerous.
    • His mentor (and general Big Bad of SotC) Dr. Methusala may be considered to fall under this trope with his mastery of the 10 equations and ability to radically alter reality, and blur the line between science and magic (then again, SotC treats magic as being answerable to science, just not till it's properly studied).
  • Almost all magic users in Call of Cthulhu will turn into this, spend the rest of their lives eating bugs in an insane asylum, or else die so horribly that seeing their remains could cause Sanity loss on the Sanity Meter. The "or" in the proceeding sentence is not an exclusive or, and you can bet the head of a cult will fit this trope well. Magic is Evil here.
  • Unknown Armies plays with this trope. Magic is not inherently evil, but it draws peoples whose values are so alien to normal that they can't really be expected to uphold normal human ethics. As a consequence, this trope shows up, but much less than you expect from a modern horror game. When one adept gets power from subverting their sexuality to a porn star, another from having money (not using it, just having it), and a third from collecting (but not studying) old books, you can't expect these people to be terribly sane, can you?
  • Mage: The Ascension plays with this trope. The main adversary of most Player Characters, the Technocratic Union, use Magitek, and are corrupt but generally not evil. They conflict with the Traditions mostly over worldview, turning the conflict into one of Grayand Grey Morality where it's Romanticism vs. Enlightenment tragically fighting it out. But then the Nephandi, mages who have sworn themselves into the service of one Eldritch Abomination or another, are this trope personified.
    • It is also certainly possible for a Tremere or Giovanni in Vampire: The Masquerade to be a vampiric version of this trope. The Baali are this by way of demon-worship, and the Devil-Tigers can play this trope by way of Asian myths of hungry ghosts if built correctly.
    • Changeling: The Dreaming fae can mix this trope with the Fair Folk in some forms.
    • The Sorcerer sourcebook detailed many ways to play this trope out without being a full Mage from Mage: The Ascension, though Sorcerers were not inherently evil.
  • Mage: The Awakening offers the Seers of the Throne, a group of mages seeking to enforce their masters' control over reality while advancing themselves in the process, and the Scelesti, mages who seek to give reality over to the Abyss, which embodies everything antithetical to existence.

    Theatre 

    Toys 
  • One of the earliest LEGO minifigures was actually called Evil Wizard.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick. Xykon. He's also a literal sorcerer; a spellcaster who was born with his powers rather than learning magic through study.
    • Vaarsuvius were also in danger of becoming this, thanks to his/her obsession with ultimate power. Whether or whether not s/he will eventually succumb remains to be seen.
    • Technically Nale is this as well, but as it's not his only character class (and he's much weaker than either of the above) it's not played up as much as his being Elan's brother and leader of the Linear Guild.
  • Lord Dragos from The Beast Legion is probably one of the most sadistic Evil sorcerers around, if not the most sadistic.
  • Wanda, the croakamancer from Erfworld.
  • Black Mage is this mixed with The Chew Toy and Villain Protagonist. Sarda is a straighter example.
  • Kakralomino, the Big Bad of Tails Of Lanschilandia, though with more of a focus on his Evil Overlord characteristics than his magic abilities.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Evil MatriarchFairy Tale TropesEvil Tower of Ominousness
The Evil PrinceIndex of Gothic Horror TropesFemme Fatale
Ethnic MagicianWizards and WitchesGentleman Wizard
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Evil RoyVillainsEvil Sounds Deep
Easter EggImageSource/Video GamesHearts Are Health

alternative title(s): Evil Sorceror; Evil Sorceress; Evil Wizard
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