"I am called a villain, but mine is a doctrine reflected in the unspoken truths behind all other philosophies. Recognize that truth, my child: Strife is the single element most essential to meaning and existence. Without conflict, without struggle, all of creation might as well be so many unmoving, unfeeling stones. Without me to hate, who would have cause to call themselves holy or just?"In a polytheistic religion each God and Goddess serves a specific role and fills a certain niche: love, life, war, death, and everything in between; be it Aardvarks or Zebras. One such incredibly vital purpose, believe it or not, is Evil. Please allow us to play as (uncomfortably) literal Devil's Advocates. On the one hand, the Balance Between Good and Evil must perforce have Evil to balance Good, lest the latter become an intolerant conformist theocracy. Likewise, it also serves as a definition of what not to do for worshipers of all the Good and Neutral gods. Most importantly for purposes of this Wiki, it also serves as an excellent plot enabler and antagonist for the heroes and forces of good to fight against. Being the absolute apex of the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat, The Chosen One can spend an entire series fighting their way up from the Religion of Evil, the Black Pope, its Dark Messiah, and then fight the God of Evil itself... or at least enable a good god that was a Sealed Good in a Can to do so. This God/dess Of Evil can take any shape or form... not just as a master tempter and deceiver, but because evil includes a heady and large portfolio. As Characters they can have as varying a range of personalities as any normal villains. Here are a few popular variants: Standard Gods Of Evil can take after Satan, being rebels from The Light or God of Good and tempting peasant and king alike. Kind of a non-denominational counterpart of Crystal Dragon Jesus. However, most aren't futile rebels; they are very real and threats often motivated by goals other than rebellion for its own sake. The Grim Reaper is at times represented as a God of Evil, wanting nothing but the death of every living thing, and the protagonist in particular. War too may be shown this way, desiring to bring about a world where Asskicking Equals Authority and the weak are killed just for being weak... which does raise the question of whether or not it's ironic for heroes to vanquish them by fighting. If they have any philosophy, ethos, or commandment, it's usually that Might Makes Right, that ethics and morality are mere shackles for The Fettered masses of Muggles, and that Evil represents the path to power. Not surprisingly, they tend to be cruel, dominating and treacherous. If there is more than one God of Evil in a setting, they usually engage in Eviler Than Thou, betraying each other before any lasting headway against the forces of good can be made. Their metaphysical home, where worshipers and non-worshiping sinners end up, is usually akin to Hell. Given the above, why would anyone worship them? Well, they usually offer worshipers power in life via a Deal with the Devil, fine print and afterlife be damned (literally). Plus, just because they'll go to hell if/when they die, doesn't mean they'll be tortured souls... they might become the torturers. Provided they don't fail their dark lord first, that is. And of course, most gods of evil are worshipped out of fear of what would happen if they ''stopped'' worshipping. Is it any surprise their pawns in the Divine Chessboard are usually unwitting or unwilling? Their followers include Cults, the Religion of Evil and Path of Inspiration. Necromancers and Infernalists usually get their powers by worshipping them. Expect them to forge many an Artifact of Doom as a source/repository of their power. When they or their agents are actively recruiting, expect them to be The Corrupter. They're a Card-Carrying Villain by definition and sometimes the God of Evil is also literally Evil. Likely candidate for Ultimate Evil and As Long as There Is Evil. A theocracy to one of these is probably The Empire. May be creator of an Always Chaotic Evil race. May have a court of Demon Lords and Archdevils, or if they exist at all these may be upstarts or otherwise in opposition. Gods of evil may have The Legions of Hell at their command. Often, there is a God of Good who stands in opposition to the God of Evil; the two are locked in an eternal Divine Conflict that dictates the Balance Between Good and Evil. The God of Good has his own agents or agent to fight against the God of Evil. Compare and contrast Eldritch Abomination, which, as horrifying as it may be and act, are most often completely amoral and not malicious - though there can be some overlap. Compare God Is Evil, where the supreme God of the whole fictional universe (or explicitly the Judeo-Christo-Islamic One God) is a nasty piece of work. If a God of Evil exists in a setting where the Big Bad who actually drives the plot is a mortal, they'll be the Greater Scope Villain. May overlap with or also be a Mad God. May be The Anti-God if it's powerful enough. If there is a personified representation of evil in a world with no other deities, that's case of Devil but No God. There are some examples in real-world pantheons, but sometimes more morally-ambiguous or outright decent gods get depicted as Gods Of Evil in Sadly Mythtaken fiction just because they are dark or associated with violence. For various reasons, this happens often enough with death gods to qualify as a subtrope. To avoid Flame Bait and Edit Wars, note that this trope isn't about gods who simply are evil, it's about gods of evil. Jerkass Gods that are petty, vain, or prone to Disproportionate Retribution do not qualify.
— The Book of Charnel, Sacrifice
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Anime & Manga
- Jashin of Naruto means "Evil God". He/she/it is mostly an excuse to allow his follower Hidan to practice his Religion of Evil Blood Magic (read: fight and kill people). The Ten-Tails also counts, despite being the progenitor of all that exists in the world.
- Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo in Slayers, along with three other Dark Lords that exist in The Multiverse it features. Before the world as everyone knows it existed, Shabranigdo started a war against the Lords of Light. The war almost destroyed existence itself, but the Lords of Light prevailed and the world was created.
- Dark Star Dugradigdu in Lost Universe is named after one of the above-mentioned Dark Lords, and is sometimes believed to be one and the same as him.
- The Idea of Evil and the God Hand from Berserk. The former is interesting in that is was made from our need for there to be a God of Evil.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion Homura becomes a goddess of evil and suppresses Madoka's powers as the goddess of good in order to bring her back to earth and erase her memories. She actually comes off as an Ambiguously Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist given that she just wants Madoka to be happy...which means making everyone else happy.
- Sailor Moon gives us Chaos and it's humanoid incarnation Sailor Chaos.
- For DC Comics:
- Darkseid, the Big Bad of Jack Kirby's New Gods, has been called the God of Evil by many people in the DCU. And in Final Crisis he comes close to being a full-blown Eldritch Abomination — his very existence is causing reality to die. Just to bring this point home, here's what Boss Dark Side says: "There was a war in Heaven. I won." He is the poster boy for Dystopia Justifies the Means- his goal is to turn the entire universe into an even more hellish version of Apokolips, a world of perpetual enslavement and burning fire pits where the only purpose you are told to have is to endlessly worship Darkseid.
- However, Darkseid wasn't always the God of Evil, his father Zonuz was his predecessor and was considered even worse than he is.
- Trigon the Terrible isn't just referred to as a god, but the Literal Manifestation of ALL Evil that has ever existed. Think Dormmamu, but in the DC Universe instead of Marvel.
- And for the Marvel Universe:
- Loki, foster brother and Arch-Enemy of The Mighty Thor, is the God of Mischief and Evil in Marvel's Norse pantheon, a powerful magician and Manipulative Bastard extraordinaire who seeks to conquer Asgard and kill his heroic sibling. He is the father of various evil creatures as well as Hela, Goddess of Death.
- Set is the God of Evil for the Heliopolitan (ie. Egyptian) pantheon, based on the mythological Set but, in-universe, taking the name of the Elder God for its badass connotations. Like Set and Loki, he uses magic and soul-stealing to enhance his powers, to the point he now rivals Odin, arguably the most powerful god in any pantheon.
- Pony POV Series:
- Nyarlathotrot is best described as the God of Horror, Tragedy, and Grim Dark. He corrupts worlds until they are twisted messes where no one but the bad guys can ever get a happy ending.
- Abandon is the God of Sadomasochism. He corrupts worlds until all are sex-crazed maniacs who enslave and torture each other.
- Morning Star is the literal Personification of Evil.
- This trope is also Deconstructed with all examples: everyone hates Nyarlathotrot and tolerates him at best, Abandon is considered similarly, and Morning Star is justifiably treated as a criminal and imprisoned for eternity.
- The Bridge has the Big Bad, Bagan, who is explicitly referred to several times as the God of Extinction, and is shown to be leagues beyond even the most powerful kaiju in power, to the point that only the Big Good, Harmony, is able to match him in a fight. And even then, just barely.
- Morgoth in The Silmarillion. Then in The Lord of the Rings, Sauron tries to ascend to this level, but is more of a demigod of evil.
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Lord Foul the Despiser was imprisoned with Time by his opposite, the Creator, for planting various sources of evil magic into the universe shortly following the creation, and he's been trying to get out ever since- and because he's super-intelligent and unrepentantly horrible, this generally means misery for everyone else unlucky enough to be stuck in the Land with him.
- Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey involves Angra Mainyu, taken from real life Zoroastrianism. (See the Real Life section below for more details.)
- David Eddings likes this one:
- In The Belgariad, Big Bad Torak is one of these and losely follows the Satan model, as does the mentioned but never directly confronted King of Hell.
- In The Elenium, Azash is an elder evil that verges on Eldritch Abomination if he didn't manipulate human desires so often (though it's clear his understanding of humanity is imperfect, and largely based on the cultural group most of his worshipers come from), while Cyrgon is a straight example and Klael is the god of Gods of Evil.
- The Crimson King from Stephen King's The Dark Tower series definitely qualifies. Before he got nerfed he was depicted as an invincible anti-God that had always existed, but was trapped on a balcony near the top of the Dark Tower. Even trapped his avatar "The Court of the Crimson King" was so powerful that almost no force in King's multiverse could stand against it. Supposedly if his physical body was free he would become utterly infallible, and so he planned to bring the Tower (and by proxy all of existence) crashing down. Later King retconned him into a senile half-god that was not nearly so imposing.
- The Incarnations of Immortality series has this as one of its offices. However, the particular office holder in the series averts this; he's less interested in being a relentless evil and more interested in simply being a fair evil - that is, separating good and evil people through temptation so that they can go to Heaven or Hell rather than stuck in Purgatory.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Theo recounts how the Orbis Suleimani eradicated knowledge of the supernatural. This was to prevent people from trying to solve problems by appealing to supernatural beings, many of which demanded worship and some of which were evil. Success resulted in the Industrial Revolution.
- Tash is described this way in The Last Battle, the final book of The Chronicles of Narnia, with Crystal Dragon Jesus Aslan outright stating that Tash is his antithesis. Interestingly, while Tash is very much a Card-Carrying Villain, his own religion is not a Religion of Evil, given that it apparently includes a number of sincere followers who believe Tash to be a just and righteous god. It gets better - Tash is so evil that you cannot commit a good act in his name - they automatically are assumed as your service to Aslan. The opposite is also true - if you do something terrible in the name of Aslan, you're really serving Tash.
Aslan: No service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him.
- Gyphon from Mithgar is both the overarching Big Bad of the series and its primary God of Evil. Specifically, he represents tyranny, since he holds to the belief that the strong should use their powers to control the weak and in fact opposed giving mortals (and non-divine immortals) free will in the first place. Other, lesser Gods of Evil who follow him are namedropped occasionally, but none of them ever do anything directly and very little is ever revealed about them.
- Malazan Book of the Fallen:
- The Crippled God Deconstructs this trope. He essentially fills this niche, but he's more like a god of suffering than evil- and while he certainly inflicts more than his fair share of suffering on the world, he also continually suffers himself. In the end, after a bunch of AbusivePrecursor Knight Templars hijack his power, he ends up becoming a more sympathetic deity who empathizes with those who suffer.
- Bellurdan Skullcrusher, the Dying God, is the trope more or less played straight, corrupting people with his toxic blood into becoming his followers.
- In Dark Heart, Vraxor, one of the three gods of Caliel, is a demon who rose to divinity. His religion is run by a sinister, all-powerful priesthood and is centered around human sacrifice.
- Skotos from the Videssos novels is the cosmic lord of all evil, and the opposite and Arch-Enemy of the God of Good, Phos (both of whom are considered deities by the Zoroastrian-esque religion which dominates the Videssian Empire, though the precise nature of their relationship is a matter of rather heated - and often violent - debate). Avshar is the series' Big Bad and Skotos's High Priest, and Skotos-worship tends to follow in his wake, but it's left ambiguous if Skotos himself is a real being or a philosophical abstraction... at least until the climax of the last book; when Avshar gets Dragged Off to Hell, something unutterably vast and powerful is there to receive him...
- Second Apocalypse: Mog-Pharau, the No-God, is essentially the antithesis of life. The Consult create him to reduce the world's population to fewer than 144,000 souls, which will sever the world from the Outside forever and save them from damnation. During the first apocalypse, the No-God appeared as a black whirlwind and spoke through the throats of one hundred thousand scranc. All births were stillborn while Mog-Pharau lived.
- The First Evil from Buffy the Vampire Slayer exists As Long as There Is Evil, and is ultimately responsible for every evil being and act in the series.
- Charmed had The Source of All Evil (usually just referred to as The Source), who was the ruler of the underworld and the Bigger Bad for the first half of the series' run. It was later revealed that "The Source" was actually a primordial force that lived inside whatever demon was currently leader of the underworld at the time.
- Doctor Who, which uses Broad Strokes continuity has (in order of appearance on the series) the Black Guardian, Fenric and possibly the Beast (but he's more equivalent to Satan). Only the Black Guardian has an equivalent God of Good.
Mythology & Religion
- Some more dualistic forms of Zoroastrianism claim Angra Mainyu (better known by the Persian name Ahriman) is the Evil Counterpart to Ahura Mazda. In other words, he is essentially the anti-God, or the god of evil. Angra Mainyu isn't so much a name as a title alluding to his nature. Angra can be translated as "destructive" or "malign", while Mainyu can mean "spirit" but also "mind", "concept" or "thought". Which means, Angra Mainyu is the Idea of Evil!
- Egyptian Mythology:
- Apep (or Apophis) is the monstrous serpent that tried to eat Ra every night and wasn't so much worshipped as worshipped against, straddling the line between God of Evil and Eldritch Abomination.
- Set is portrayed as this to a degree in later versions of the mythology, though contrary to popular opinion he wasn't a snake god, and was actually a good guy in earlier myths; Set lost ground as the Horus cult gained it in later centuries, and became more identified with foreigners and the desert, even becoming identified sometimes with the chaos-serpent he had used to fight. By the time Petrarch recorded the most familiar-to-moderns versions of the Egyptian gods, he was bidding fair for this role.
- The Bible:
- Meta-subversion. Satan is often portrayed this way in Western media, as a direct Evil Counterpart of God. This is the result of Word of Dante however and in contrast to most Christian doctrine, where Satan is recognized as being a far lesser power than God and has no chance of succeeding in his cosmic takeover bid. He's never described as being a representation of evil, merely an evil angel. However, while angels are nothing compared to YHWH that's because He's an omnipotent Cosmic Entity beyond all space-time, and angels still have god-like power (in the lesser sense). A comparison would be that Zoroastrianism portrays Ahriman as an Evil Overlord of a hostile empire, while Christianity portrays Satan as a terrorist.
- The word satan literally just means adversary. One interpretation is that in the early Jewish writings, Satan wasn't evil, but a sort of divine prosecutor, testing Creation. Thus in the book of Job, he plays the role of adversary testing Job's fidelity to see if it's genuine. The contrasting interpretation is that Satan's actions in Job were actually evil, and note that there was a difference between satan, which was used to describe any sort of adversary, and ha satan (using the definite article), which was used specifically to refer to the Fallen Angel who made himself the adversary of God.
- The Demiurge of Gnosticism is a giant snake-lion-sun thing who created the physical world and all life in it. He is usually portrayed as prideful, destructive, myopic and dangerous. Interestingly, he is often depicted as thinking himself to be not only a good god but the only god period.
- In Shinto Ama-no-Kagaseo is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Amatsu-Mikaboshi, which is essentially The Dark Side. So it is the personification of Evil, or at least discord, destruction and chaos, and destructive impulses.
- Medieval Maori religion gives us Whiro, who manages to some way or another cause practically every problem we have while locked in the underworld. He will eventually escape and destroy everything besides himself and the ashes.
- Dungeons & Dragons usually has at least one (but usually three) in each setting.
- Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer, and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar have this as integral parts of their settings, in the form of the Gods of Chaos, and (only in Warhammer 40,000) the C'Tan.
- Khorne is the God of Blood and War, and is shown in the image on this trope's page, along with his follower's signature Battle Cry. He is also the God of Martial Prowess and Honour, so his followers are just as likely to be Berserk Killers or Honourable Opponents.
- Tzeentch is the God of Ambition and Change. His followers are usually Psykers and those touched by the powers of the Warp. He's infamous for long, complex plans that exist simply for the sake of it, and his followers generally end up screwed out in the bargain. He is also the God of Hope, which speaks volumes about the setting.
- Slaanesh is the God(-ess?) of Pleasure and Perfection. Its followers are usually drawn with promises of Pleasure and Perfection in all things, so they're as likely to be Artists and Scholars as well as Hedonists and Harlots. The drawback is that Slaanesh has a very different idea of perfection, and the followers will normally end up as something... else.
- Nurgle is the God of Death, Decay and Contentment. He's infamous for spreading disease to every corner of the galaxy, and embodies the emotion of being happy with one's lot in life. His followers are generally those who turn to him when there is no other choice, or if they're already nuts to begin with because of disease, starvation or any of the myriad things that CAN happen in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. His followers become immune to all disease and are unbelievably tough, but mutate so grotesquely and with such effects that even the ground rots under their feet, and their very presence is lethal to anyone within a 50 Mile radius. Special mention to the fact that his followers generally consider all of this enjoyable and delight in spreading the "blessings" of Nurgle wherever they go.
- In 40k, there are the C'Tan Star-Gods, as old as the universe itself and far older than the Chaos Gods. Originally diffuse Energy Beings the size of solar systems, they were given bodies of living metal by a mortal race in need of allies, which the CíTan promptly betrayed and turned into the Necrons, a race of robotic Slave Mooks without free will. They used to eat stars, but they later found mortal souls much more to their liking, and world after world was sacrificed to their hunger. Individual CíTan were near as unpleasant as the Chaos Gods: the Nightbringer Mind Raped organic life into fearing death to feed on their terror and despair; the Void Dragon, a being of oblivion and utter destruction, had absolute control over technology and tried to sever the warp from real space, which would have torn the souls out of every living thing; the Burning One just wanted to burn everything. They were eventually cast down and shattered by rebellious Necrons and the gods of other races, but the pieces are still out there, and should they reuniteÖ
- The God of Death Oswald Leingold from Fantasia - Realm of Thanos, who much prefers to be called the Demon Lord.
- Charnel from Sacrifice is a Card-Carrying Villain God of Evil who is Genre Savvy about how important his place is in the pantheon. Amusingly, Charnel is publicly the most fervent opponent of the game's Final Boss, Omnicidal Maniac Marduk, as he doesn't like competitors. It remains ambiguous just how much he knows about who's really responsible for summoning Marduk and whether his lines of reasoning for siccing you on the other gods are genuine or simply him using you to settle his old grudges.
- Kri from Rise of the Kasai. Neither it nor its followers make any attempt to hide or justify it.
- Falerin of AdventureQuest is an interesting subversion; he is the God of Evil, but he is not malevolent and bloodthirsty. He's quite gentlemanly and passive; in fact, he helps the protagonists indirectly against the actual Big Bad.
- The final bosses of Dragon Quests 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
- Persona's Nyarlathotep, an Eldritch Abomination Anthropomorphic Personification of the entirety of Humanity's collective evil. He was cast away at the end of 2.
- Deconstructed horrifically in Arc Rise Fantasia. Prince Weiss accuses the god Eesa of being one of these. The other gods, Real and Imaginal are an Omnicidal Maniac and a racist jerkass, so the party doesn't really have any other frame of reference... until it's revealed that Eesa is actually an emotionally-broken Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. How she became one is pure Tear Jerker material.
- The Elder God in Legacy of Kain is eventually revealed to be this in Defiance, following truckloads of Foreshadowing in Soul Reaver 2.
- The Demon Sovereign from the rebooted Might and Magic series (Heroes of Might and Magic V and VI as well as Dark Messiah of Might and Magic) is the setting's Crystal Dragon Satan equivalent. HOMM 6 shows that he was a regular demon lord who ascended to the position through politics and conquest.
- The Painkiller series started out with Satan in the role, but he was killed in the first game, and a veritable conga line of successors would pop up in the expansion packs one after the other to claim the title (first Alastor, then Eve, then Samael).
- Skorm from Fable, who the PC can make human sacrifices to. Doesn't actually exist. More important than Skorm is the Corruption, the setting's Bigger Bad, as well as the Queen of Blades, who had the position in the setting's backstory.
- The Elder God Shinnok from Mortal Kombat is more or less this after his fall from grace, going as far as overthrowing Lucifer himself to take over the Netherrealm.
- In EarthBound, many hints given throughout the game indicate that Giygas has essentially become this. Porky's statement during the final battle even says that he is evil itself.
- Demise from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Majora from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
- In Age of Mythology, Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology are simplified somewhat from the original myths for the sake of the campaigns. As a result, Set becomes this for the Egyptian, Loki for the Norse (especially notable for turning up as an antagonist in person, and serving a much more direct role than Set), and Poseidon for the Greek. However, the ultimate God of Evil is Kronos, from the Atlanteans, since the other three are ultimately subservient to him, and his master scheme of breaking loose and causing The End of the World as We Know It. All the Titans except Gaia also qualifies, while Cerberus and Ymir are more Eldritch Abominations anyway. The game is notable for averting Everybody Hates Hades though, Hades is somewhat neutral, and his only contribution is helping the heroes escape Erebus when they are trapped there by Gargarensis, the servant of Kronos.
- Played with in Fate/stay night. During the Third Holy Grail War the Einzberns tried to guarantee a victory by summoning the Zoroastrian god of evil, Angra Mainyu. What they in fact summoned was a man whose village had declared him to be the source of all their sins, his existence being the origin of Angra Mainyu's myth. Having no special abilities he was quickly killed and absorbed by the Grail. But because this man represented the wish of those ancient villagers for there to exist a singular source of evil, the Grail attempted to grant that wish. Had there been a victor in either the Fourth or Fifth Grail Wars, he would have become a Physical God.
- The Demon King in Sluggy Freelance is worshiped by his demon followers and was powerful enough to defeat the Goddess of Goodness. He even sealed her away in a plastic baggie, which he kept in his refrigerator.
- "Black Mother, pass us by! We are not here!"
- In the backstory for The Order of the Stick, we have The Dark One, a goblin warlord and Dark Messiah who — upon his death — was elevated to godhood by the belief of his followers (specifically, after they went on a year-long slaughter in his name). Redcloak is his high priest.
- Tutenstein has one but there's no time to explain.
- Trigon from Teen Titans who, like his original comic book counterpart, is supposed to be the incarnation of all evil.
- Vaatu from The Legend of Korra; the spirit of chaos and darkness (not just a spirit, the spirit), he likes nothing better than corrupting spirits and letting them go on rampages, and if he wins during Harmonic Convergence then he'll bring about The End of the World as We Know It.