The Dungeons & Dragons Character Alignment
system originally defined characters' moral dispositions only on a Law/Chaos
axis, with Law seen as usually involving moral goodness and Chaos evil. Eventually, Good/Evil was introduced as a separate parameter. One reason for this was the slightly odd but not all that rare case of characters who are clearly evil, but nevertheless organised, consistent, rule-abiding, and/or maybe even trustworthy and reasonable in their own limited way
— in other words, Lawful Evil.
A Lawful Evil character is an evil character who either tries to impose or uphold a lawful system on others without regard for their wishes, and/or adheres to a particular code. They believe in order, but mostly because they believe it is the best way of realising their evil wishes. They will obey the letter of the law, but not the spirit, and are usually very careful about giving their word. However, there is also the Knight Templar
variant, who believes their rules actually make them the good guy — when they and their rules have in truth ended up at the lower end of the slippery slope to evil and tyranny.
Though Lawful Evil characters are often found in charge, these characters also make good henchmen or mooks
. Though they lack any moral scruples that may impair their work, a cautious villain will find they respond well to concepts like 'loyalty', 'duty', and 'honour'. The caution, however, should be remembered, as these characters also respond poorly to Bad Bosses
and Dirty Cowardsnote
, as well as simple incompetence that could lead them to deciding to either find a more worthy master, or take over 'for the good of the cause'.
Lawful Evil comes in four flavors:
- Type 1 is those who believe in civic order, and are the villains who believe either in keeping order and control at all costs, or that it's much easier to become ruler of the world by exploiting the existing system than by tearing it down and starting anew. Maybe they like to rule with an iron fist, or publicly playing by rules gives them enough Good Publicity to get away with their evil schemes. If the villain is supreme ruler of their realm, then they are probably either Lawful Evil or The Caligula. This is the canonical alignment of devils in Dungeons & Dragons. Lawful Evil can be the most dangerous alignment because it represents intentional, methodical and frequently successful evil. More than likely megalomaniacal sorts out to "restore/maintain order" by — you guessed it — Taking Over The World.
- Type 2 is a baddie with a code of honor (personal order) that prevents them from doing truly heinous things, or at least keeps them focused and disciplined. Often a Pragmatic Villain. This code of honor sometimes leads to the Type 2 conflicting with Type 1's when their values and codes conflict with those of main-stream society. This does not make them Chaotic. Types 2's do have a sense of order, just not the one that society at large possesses. If this is the case, expect the Type 2 to be a Byronic Hero or Übermensch. They typically value loyalty in their minions and possess Evil Virtues, and tend to be reliable allies in an Enemy Mine situation where alignments would fizzle out. The second type tends to either perform a Heel-Face Turn or suffer death by redemption. The alternative is that they ultimately choose evil over this and cross the Moral Event Horizon. Note that these two types are not mutually exclusive.
- Type 3 can be The Dragon in a Five-Bad Band or a minion of lower rank. Perhaps they lack the same pure drive that the Big Bad has, or maybe they're just not quite as smart, but they both do what they are told or do what they say that they are going to do, taking the most straightforward and efficient means of accomplishing the task they set out to do. They're a genuine threat, but they're not the real danger. If they're loyal to the Big Bad then they take orders without any problems, and they obey the Big Bad without any complaints. If the villains are going to be killed off, you can bet this guy is going to go down with the Big Bad. They are not The Starscream because of their loyalty to their boss, but they're just as mean in real life as they are at their job, so they're not a Punch Clock Villain either. Type 3 may work temporarily with The Hero if the Big Bad goes temporarily nuts, but this isn't a Heel-Face Turn, as they will go straight back to their boss once it's all sorted out.
- Type 4 is a common case of characters that simply hate freedom and will enslave people out of malice, or those who get their jollies from imposing ridiculously harsh rules with even more ridiculous consequences for breaking them. (Not totally arbitrary rules, though, that goes over to Chaotic.) Dystopia Justifies the Means can fall under this category and they use law and order principally as instruments of suffering and oppression for its own sake and not (just) that of power or running The Empire efficiently. They might keep up appearances of a Noble Demon but at best they will abuse the hell out of Exact Words and at their worst they will flat out lie and cheat in spite of it. Most Lawful Evil characters in Dungeons & Dragons are this type including Hextor, the iconic god of Lawful Evil. Darkseid is the classic example of this sort of villain and demonstrates just why it is the worst of the Lawful Evil types.
All four variants are likely to take advantage of Questionable Consent
, pushing people into "agreements
" and then pushing them to uphold their end of the "bargain."
Lawful Evil characters may not be motivated by anything but a paycheck. Many soldiers and henchmen working for an evil government or ruler fall into the "lawful evil" category by default. Being a genuinely committed member of a military organization makes one lawful by default, and if the government or ruler one works for is evil, then one naturally falls into the category of "lawful evil."
If you have a difficulty deciding which alignment an evil-aligned character belongs to, the main difference between Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil
and Chaotic Evil
is not their devotion to their evil wishes, but the methods they believe are best to realize it:
- Even though there are some situations where they can't always use this method, Lawful Evil characters believe the best way is to have a specific, strict code of conduct, whether self-imposed or codified as a law. Their first impulse when making a moral decision is to refer back to this code; those with externally imposed systems (codes of laws, hierarchies, etc.) will try to work within the system when those systems go wrong. Depending on whether they are more Lawful or more Evil, they will either refuse to break the code even though it would hurt their evil objectives, or else break it only very reluctantly, and only when it would hurt their evil objectives if they kept their code.
- Neutral Evil characters are indifferent to Order Versus Chaos, and their only interest is in realizing their evil wishes. They will use whatever means will help in realizing their evil wishes, whether that means tearing down a code of laws, following a code of laws, creating an orderly society, causing the breakdown of justice, or staying away from society altogether. Their only goal is to realize their evil wishes, full stop.
- Most Chaotic Evil characters don't constantly break the law, but they cannot see much value in laws (or, for weaker-CCEs, do not see the value in laws that do not function solely to their depraved objectives). They believe that their own evil impulses are their best guides, and that tying themselves to any given code of conduct would be limiting their own ability to realize their depraved wishes. They do not get along with anyone who tries to instill any kind of order over the Chaotic Evil character, believing these people to be restricting their freedom; Chaotic Evil characters often focus very strongly on their own individual rights and freedoms, and will strongly resist any form of oppression of themselves.
In a nutshell, these are a variety of evil characters who don't care if what they do is "heinous" or "horrible"
, but who will always follow certain rules.
Such characters are, for example:
A warlord who would kill anyone who threatens him — and, let's say, would always spare the enemies that can serve him; or someone who believes in playing by the story conventions
; or a villain whose word is absolutely binding
but would still kill a pregnant woman; or any kind of evil character that might commit mass genocide but for some reason Will Not Tell a Lie
. Or a character who does, without flinching, anything their master orders them to do, anything, because their one rule is absolute obedience. A Lawful Evil character can also be an Omnicidal Maniac
just as easily as Neutral Evil
or Chaotic Evil
can be; in such cases, they usually either hold Fantastic Racism
towards all other living beings or they wish to impose a new order by annihilating everything and starting from scratch.
Remember, being Lawful
does not imply at all that you have any moral standards, and any one of these character archetypes have just as much potential as a Neutral Evil
or Chaotic Evil
character to be truly despicable. Being lawful is thus a matter of ethical concerns and not moral ideas; alternatively, a lawful character may work within and abuse the rules. Lawful Evil is not always the "Nicest" of the Evil alignment. It is just the most consistent and orderly. In short, an evil character who feels that the rules is what gives them strength or superiority. This includes upholding Evil as an ideal in and of itself, coupled with a sense of duty to promote it wherever possible
and by any means
. They're likely to have standards
, but they're just as likely to have a warped moral code regardless. Notably, Hextor
, the iconic god of Lawful Evil in Dungeons & Dragons
is the Type 4 style and is not sympathetic in the slightest. That being said, many, perhaps most evil characters who end up siding with heroes permanently without undergoing a Heel-Face Turn
tend to be Lawful Evil, as they are the most likely of the evil alignments to work within the system; type 1s are particularly prone to this, due to their views on order.
Finally, it should be remembered that being Lawful Evil does not necessarily mean that the character in question is inclined to obey the actual laws of the land- many of them are fully prepared to commit illegal acts or to twist the laws to their own purposes, and even to annihilate entire systems or civilizations. A Type 1 may justify this by saying they are trying to create a superior lawful society; a Type 2 may assume that their own personal code supersedes any loyalty to the authority of mere mortals; a Type 3 may think that the only law they obey is that of their own masters; and a Type 4 sees the law primarily as a means to oppress others and fulfill their sadistic desires. No Lawful alignment is necessarily inclined to obey every
law or any
: Lawful Good
, Neutral Good
, Chaotic Good
, Lawful Neutral
, True Neutral
, Chaotic Neutral
, Neutral Evil
, Chaotic Evil
Lawful Evil type typically includes:
- Abusive Parents (if not Lawful Neutral)
- Anthropomorphic Personifications that combine order with evil or who simply go to the extreme.
- Many Affably Evil characters
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot
- Ancient Conspiracy, depending on how far they're willing to go.
- Any villain trying an Assimilation Plot
- Amoral Attorney
- Aristocrats Are Evil
- Most Black Knights (if they are not Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral or True Neutral)
- Most Black Shirts
- Some Blood Knights, as they enjoy conquest and warfare but also have some appreciation for fair play and valor.
- Bullies, when not Neutral Evil.
- The Caligula (most often of either the Type 1 or 4 variety, when not Chaotic Evil or Neutral Evil)
- The more ruthless versions of the Church Militant.
- Control Freaks at their absolute worst.
- The more villainous Corporate Samurai.
- Some Corrupt Churches
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Criminals whose modus operandi heavily relies on Super OCD.
- Culture Police
- Dark Messiah
- Deadly Decadent Court
- Dean Bitterman
- Diabolical Mastermind
- More loyal types of The Dragon.
- Dirty Cop
- The Emperor who leads an evil Empire
- The Empire
- Evil Chancellor (When aren't Neutral Evil)
- One Evil Counterpart to a Lawful Good character regularly is this.
- Evil Overlord
- Family Values Villain
- Many Faux Affably Evil characters.
- General Ripper
- Glorious Leader
- God, when he's evil.
- The Government
- Hanging Judge
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner
- Quite a bit of Sociopathic Heroes who find themselves "stuck" to the good side by a deal, contract or some similar bind, or simply out of a sense of loyalty to the heroes.
- Killer Robot, as they follow strict programming and parameters, but what they do is usually evil.
- Knight Templar
- Classic portrayals of The Mafia and the Yakuza
- Mayor Pain
- The default alignment of most MegaCorps (as they're usually run by Corrupt Corporate Executives and often engage in Industrialized Evil)
- The Men in Black (when they are not Lawful Neutral)
- The Neidermeyer
- Noble Demon, when he is actually evil and their "noble" side is because one code of honor
- Some Obstructive Bureaucrats. Those who they aren't Lawful Neutral or Lawful Stupid.
- Politically Incorrect Villain
- Most organized Pragmatic Villains.
- President Evil
- Evil Principles Zealots
- Professional Killer (when they live up to their agreements or follow a strict code of honor).
- Punch Clock Villain when they really are evil.
- Adherents of the stricter forms of the Religion of Evil.
- Sadist Teacher
- Secret Police
- The Social Darwinist (if not Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil)
- Sociopathic Soldiers of the Jingoist category.
- State Sec
- Stepford Smiler
- Straight Edge Evil
- Sycophantic Servant
- The Syndicate
- Totalitarian Utilitarian
- The Renfield
- The Man
- The Superego of an evil-aligned Freudian Trio.
- The blue oni of an evil-aligned Red Oni, Blue Oni duo.
- More villainous cases of The Fettered.
- Those Wacky Nazis
- Tragic Villain
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The bad new boss is in this arc is usually Lawful Evil.
- Many Villains with Good Publicity
- A Nazi by Any Other Name
When dealing with the examples of specific characters, remember that assigning an alignment to a character who doesn't come with one is pretty YMMV. If you've got a problem with a character being listed here, it probably belongs on the discussion page. There will be no Real Life examples under any circumstances; it just invites an Edit War. Plus, real people are far too complex and multi-dimensional to really be classified by such a straightforward alignment system.
On works pages: Character Alignment is only to be used in works where it is canonical, and only for characters who have alignments in-story. There is to be no arguing over canonical alignments, and no Real Life examples, ever.
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Anime and Manga
- Alignment? Bah! Doom does not fit into your pathetic categories!
- Superman's archfoe Lex Luthor, given his constant manipulation of the Metropolis legal system to keep himself out of hot water, and his vast network of supervillain contacts. However, his overwhelming greed, jealousy and desire for revenge on Superman often puts him in Neutral Evil territory.
- Elseworld Kryptonian Gar-El arrived on Earth in the 18th century and allied himself with the British king, aiding him in stopping The American Revolution and then takes over the world with all the powers of Superman. He claimed that he "brought peace, imposed order", and wasn't above executing his own half-human progeny for treasonous thoughts against his rule.
- Magneto, when he's written as a villain, is a classic example, seeking World Domination to feed his own ego but also and more importantly to safeguard the future of the mutant race, and protecting it from the very real threat of genocidal anti-mutant prejudice. His principal foes are the X-Men but he generally regards them and most other superheroes worthy of respect, even non-mutant ones, and (Grant Morrison aside) there are several lines he absolutely will not even think of crossing. His Ultimate incarnation is also this, though evidently doesn't consider humans or anyone in his way to matter much in his personal, amoral ethical code.
- The Iron Man villain, the Mandarin, is an Evil Overlord through and through. On one occasion, he destroyed one of his martial arts students for cheating by trying to drug him in a training session.
- The DCU's uber-Big Bad Darkseid is Lawful Evil in its purest form. His goal is to rule the entire universe by finding the Anti-Life Equation, which would destroy the free will of everyone except him. One blogger called him "the god of fascism," and although it's not mentioned in the comics very often, he is the god of tyranny.
- Dimension Lord Dread Dormammu, despite his title of Lord of Chaos, has a twisted sense of fair play and honor, and displays consistent behavior in attempting to conquer Earth's dimension. As Doctor Strange mentions "Spontaneity is something Dormammu cannot fathom. Like all tyrants, his mind is rigid...he follows set formulas."
- Zarda from Supreme Power is the team Sociopathic Hero. She kills without hesitation those in her way, but she is committed to the goal of world domination. But for that to happen she needs Hyperion to realize it so she stays with the Squadron and goes on missions where her powers and brutality are best served: warzones. It was during one of these incidents that she approved of a Pay Evil unto Evil incident involving an abused girl taking revenge on her tormentors.
- Likewise, The Punisher often slides into this alignment, Depending on the Writer. He is sometimes depicted as a guy who simply enjoys killing, and targets criminals simply to give himself a twisted form of self-justification. He is always depicted as a guy driven by a desire for personal revenge, and frequently tortures the perp in various especially brutal ways. The fact that most of the criminals he does this too are usually portrayed as worse (or just as bad) is the only thing that might get him off of this.
- Former Green Lantern Sinestro seeks to bring order to the universe. And what better way to do that than through fear?
- The Guardians of the Universe have been on a gradual slide to this in recent issues. Finally culminating in bringing order to the universe by just replacing everyone in it with their Third Army in an Assimilation Plot.
- When he's thinking straight, Spider-Man archnemesis and overall Marvel Universe Big Bad Norman Osborn under the name of Iron Patriot is LE in true Manipulative Bastard fashion. When the Green Goblin comes out to play...
- And while on the subject of the Dark Avengers, Moonstone fits the LE alignment as well.
- Spider-Man villain Knight of the super-villian duo, Knight and Fog, is certainly this. He is a contract killer, but never kills unless he is specifically ordered to. Unlike his Chaotic Evil partner, Fog, he never gains any pleasure from torturing his victims before dispatching them.
- The Adversary, also known as Gepetto from Fables. He truly believes that his Empire is for the good of all, citing the necessity of murdering millions to provide prosperity to billions.
- The One Sith from Star Wars: Legacy. Their goal is galactic peace and order- as enforced by a galaxy-spanning totalitarian dictatorship. They do seem to genuinely believe their rhetoric and are loyal to each other, but don't think for a minute they won't commit as many atrocities as previous Sith Orders in pursuit of their goal.
- Korvac during The Korvac Saga of The Avengers appears to be Lawful Evil. Before taking godhood, he sought to build a paradise planet. But after having taken godhood, he carefully and methodically planned to take over the universe to make it one of a perfect order. He also killed anyone who found out the truth about him, but stated that it is necessary and that he regrets doing it. Moondragon mistook him for Lawful Good during a mindscan, but his evil showed itself in a What If? comic.
- Ultimate Thanos is certainly this. His mission is stated as being "To make life a little more like death, Ordered. Perfect. Predictable."
- Mongul is a type four lawful evil, and take extreme pleasure in oppressing and enslaving entire worlds.
- The protagonist of Miracleman, was able to throw a Bus Full of Innocents to Kid miracleman.
- The Beast from Transmetropolitan. A true bastard, but he nevertheless plays by the rules. He's ever so slightly preferable to The Smiler.
- Scrooge McDuck, especially in the Italian comics. Depending on the Writer, he can be surprisingly nasty. Often ruthless, unscrupulous and uncaring, he routinely threatens, even beats his nephew Donald Duck to do his bidding. He pays below minimum wage (if anything) and is OK with firing thousands of employees just to save a buck.
- The demonic lord Azazel from X-Men. His film version counts too.
- Adam Susan from V for Vendetta, he believes that order and stability takes precedent over anything else and will commit a second holocaust to eliminate those he believes would destabilize it.
- The "Mutants" gang members in Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. They have a quota system for committing crimes! Can't get much more lawful than obeying quotas.
- Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges, a group of superpowered undead Judges from another dimension where they already killed every living thing. Their basic mission, formulated by their leader Judge Death, is to create a universe free of crime. Since only the living commit crimes, they decide to pre-emptively murder all potential offenders. They take their fanatical belief in the supremacy of law to the point where they became the worst evil in the whole setting.
- The Villain Protagonist of the Mass Effect fanfic The Council Era is Lawful Evil. He exploits the corrupt natures of the Council in order to "improve" the galaxy through questionable means, and takes their seat of power eventually. He fully believes that laws should be followed and that government should enforce the practice of civilized society. All of his questionable acts are sanctioned and supported by the Council, even the mass-murder and cultural genocide.
- The Star Father of The Shape of the Nightmare to Come, who is a future version of The Emperor of Mankind that Came Back Wrong and became the Chaos God of Order. He seeks to completely destroy free will, ushering in a universe of nightmarish, self-defeating order.
- Hetalia Dark Fic tend to make the former Empires into this. Specially in the case of Japan, World War II!Prussia and World War II!Germany.
- The three main antagonists of Fallout: Equestria - Red Eye, the Goddess, and the Enclave - are all Lawful Evil tyrants who are trying to dominate what's left of Equestria by enslaving everypony, assimilating everypony into Unity, or massacring everything without wings respectively.
- Twilight Sparkle, serving as the Villain Protagonist of Pages Of Harmony is this - much like Light Yagami, she attempts to discover the essence of the Elements of Harmony, destroy chaos, and bring order to the world by killing her friends to extract their Elements, as well as murdering anypony who stands in her way before her plan is ready to be executed.
- In The 10 Doctors, it is revealed that the White Guardian, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Order, is this despite being seen in the series as Lawful Good. He/she is helping the Daleks as they would make the Universe more ordered. Though the Black Guardian of Chaos, his/her sibling, isn't really better.
- Lord Maledict from Sonic X: Dark Chaos is this to a tee. He is willing to exterminate whole galaxies and start brutal wars in order to conquer the entire universe and all of creation. Ultimately, he's actually a Well-Intentioned Extremist taken to its logical conclusion, as he wants to do it in order to bring genuine peace to the universe.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Darth Vader, and The Empire more generally, in Star Wars. Vader chokes the shit out of anyone in his way and has no tolerance for incompetence, but he crucially never kills for his own amusement (unlike the Emperor) and has Pet the Dog moments to those he has a common affinity with, such as the Noghri or slaves.
Well, the empire except Palpatine himself, who is more along the lines of Neutral Evil. Other than that, however, the original trilogy seems to be a conflict between the Lawful Evil empire and the Chaotic Good rebel alliance, whose priorities are "freedom and justice," (according to the "opening crawls" at least) whereas the (expressed) priorities of Darth Vader are peace and order above all else.
- Clu from TRON: Legacy. "Create a perfect system?" Sure. Just get rid of an entire species that doesn't fit the idea of perfection, trap his Chaotic Good creator in cyberspace exile, brainwash the biggest Lawful Good badass into his dragon, turn the Games lethal to weed out any imperfection or weakness among Programkind. Nothing is more flawed than a User...
- TRON: Master Control and Sark also fell into this category, as did Ed Dillinger.
- Both Loco and Silence in the Big Silence who always kill in Self Defence or Legally
- Dr. Evil of Austin Powers, right down to attending Evil Medical School.
- In the movie Film/Ladyhawke, the Big Bad Bishop is this. In appearance, he is a devout member of the Church. In private, was willing to do a Deal with the Devil to curse two lovers to shapeshift, one by day, the other by night, so they can't be together, merely because he wanted the woman (Isabeau).
- The senior house slave Stephen in Django Unchained is utterly devoted to his master and wholeheartedly upholds the institution of slavery. A collaborator if there ever was one.
- Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather sticks to omerta and sees great value in honor and respect. He rejects drug dealing out of principle; but it does not make his motives or methods anything other than evil.
- The Operative from Serenity, who ruthlessly pursues anyone or anything which threatens the perfect utopia he hopes to build, even if it means slaughtering entire worlds or murdering children. To his credit, he never claims that what he does is right or just, only necessary, and freely admits that he's a monster who will have no place in the utopia he dreams of.
- Eden Fletcher is a bad bad man.
- The Master from "Manos" The Hands of Fate.
- Peter Creedy in V for Vendetta (more than in the comic book) comes across as a textbook Lawful Evil character.
- Harry Waters from In Bruges. That fucking motherfucker sticks to his fucking principles.
- Charlie Prince in the Three Ten To Yuma remake is a trigger-happy, murderous bastard, but his loyalty and devotion to his boss Ben Wade are impressive - he goes to almost superhuman lengths to rescue him. With maybe a slight hint of subtext.
- Darryl Revok of Scanners. He started out Chaotic Evil ("highly self-destructive") but by the time the film is set, he's mellowed out to Lawful Evil.
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Yes, he's a murderous nut, but he's also extremely focused in his work, wrapped around a fairly lawful system of revenge, and in love with ceremony. The one thing he has that most Lawful Evil characters don't is creativity.
- Lord Summerisle. The crops will not fail.
- The Confederacy in CSA: The Confederate States of America goes as far as to legally trade slaves with African countries.
- The Chronicles of Riddick:
- Vaako, The Dragon. He genuinely believes in the Religion of Evil, and unlike his wife, binds himself to its principles. As a result, he resists her pressure to attempt a Klingon Promotion on the Lord Marshall, until Vaako himself comes to believe that the Lord Marshall has come to violate the Necromonger code through the Marshall's weakness. Vaako and Riddick both attack the Marshall, but Riddick strikes the killing blow. Rather than attempting to finish Riddick off, Vaako is the first to bow and declare him the new Lord Marshall, because "You keep what you kill" is part of the Necromonger code too.
- The Necromongers in general are Lawful Evil: their end-goal may be the death and/or conversion of the entire universe, but its done with forthright honesty, military discipline and meticulous planning. All the members are loyal to the death, and look forward to dying in the service of the Necromongers. Indeed death is the ultimate goal for them.
- The Predators are about as Lawful Evil as they come. They participate in brutal bloodsport that involves the hunting of other alien species, but adhere to a strict honor code that prohibits the killings of innocents or the weak, and will always permit a leveling of the playing field to give their opponents a better chance of defending themselves. For example: Dutch in Predator is unarmed for the last half of their final confrontation, so the Predator starts beating him half to death until it decides to finish him. Hanzo in Predators is only armed with a katana, so the Predator he's facing only comes at him with his blade. That said, they are absolutely merciless when it comes to the hunt itself, and will not bat a single eyelash against ripping your spine out and displaying it as a trophy.
- Lenny from Rock N Rolla likes to paint himself as this, declaring that he is there to keep order in the underworld. However, the truth is that Lenny is slimy, selfish, greedy, and willing to break his word and bargains with anyone doing business with him. Plus Lenny is secretly a rat who has been selling all of his criminal associates to the law one by one for years in order to avoid doing jail time himself. Archy, Lenny's dragon is the real thing: supremely loyal, true to his word, and willing to go out and kill anyone he's ordered to, or that it's necessary to kill, even while he shows that he's upset by Lenny's more selfish actions and double-crossing ways.
- Saito from Inception, though he sides with the protagonist. He uses his inception team to plant a false idea into the mind of his rival businessman to crush the energy monopoly, primarily to clear the obstacle to his own power expansion.
- Captain Vidal from Pans Labyrinth, as is typical of Fascist-type villains. He's a good example of how an evil character who's lawful can be every bit as despicable as one who doesn't follow the rules.
- Bill "The Butcher" Cutting in Gangs of New York is definitely this. He's a community leader who cares deeply for his city, country and his American countrymen. He is also a racist, ruthless killer who tries to manipulate the law to his own advantage wherever possible, forging political alliances that benefit him, but he has limits imposed by his principles of honour which he will not bend or stretch at any price.
- Sheriff William "Little Bill" Daggett, the primary antagonist of Unforgiven. Sure, he's a lawman with the noble goal of cleaning up the town of Big Whiskey, but he's also a ruthless Knight Templar for whom the chance to dish out the occasional Cold-Blooded Torture, No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, or Vigilante Execution is among the biggest perks of the job.
- Angel Eyes, the title "Bad" from The Good The Bad And The Ugly. "When I'm paid, I always see the job through." So when a man he's been paid to kill offers him twice that money to kill his boss, he accepts, takes the money, and kills both of them. Which is more of a textbook Neutral Evil since he's Only in It for the Money and double-crosses his bosses to get more of it.
- The Mist's Mrs. Carmody is the definition of this alignment: being able to justify atrocities by twisting inhumane, cruel and archaic laws to her favor and following them to the letter and spirit.
- The Mayor from Pleasantville fits this trope. Practically trying to prevent the town from becoming "colored" and back to their "perfectly pleasant" ways.
- Ro-Man and the Great One from Robot Monster. Ro-Man kills off nearly the entire human race because he was ordered to, and follows orders to kill the others up until his Face-Heel Turn.
- Two-Face in The Dark Knight is definitely of this alignment after his Face-Heel Turn from the Lawful Good Harvey Dent. While The Joker is the embodiment of Chaotic Evil and Two-Face's Face-Heel Turn was sparked by him, Two-Face always flips a coin to decide if somebody should live or die. It's a rule of his that he will adhere to, instead of killing by impulse.
- The Gotham National Bank manager, who still believes in honor and respect even when the Joker has him by the balls. Also Gambol, who goes so far as to put a hit on the Joker for robbing the GNB (and partially for making a potshot at his grandmother).
- Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Despite looking like he's Chaotic Evil, he is actually is a Type 1 who goes by his own set of principles. An example is how he doesn't want to kill Batman until Gotham was destroyed, therefore "giving him a reason to die."
- Ivan Drago seems like this for most of Rocky IV. After Rocky defeats him though, he says he wants to box for himself instead of Russia.
- The Devil in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Turns out that despite being ruler of Hell, he still has to adhere to the Demon Code, which has a rule stipulating that demons must always accept a declaration of a rock-off challenge. His multiple Precision F-Strike shows he's not happy about being forced to do this.
- Man of Steel gives us General Zod, the man who is willing to commit genocide and forcefully terraform a planet to recreate his homeworld because he is absolutely certain it is his duty to serve his society, whatever means neccessary.
"Every action I take, no matter how violent or cruel, is for the good of my people."
- Home Alone gives you Buzz the older Mcallister brother who is cruel to Kevin but uses his status as the older sibling to get himself out of trouble.
- The Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. They are essentially a Deadly Decadent Court of evil creatures who dislike each other, but are bound by a strict adherence to social rituals. When one is exiled for losing in a competition against his rival to the imperial throne, he constantly seeks to regain his status rather than revenge.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, HYDRA fits this trope.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull demonstrates discipline, taste, and Faux Affably Evil civility despite being an ex-Nazi despot who believes that he is the superior and rightful ruler of the planet. He easily fits Type 4, as outlined above, although he also could be classified Neutral Evil for having his own agenda separate from Hitler and the other Nazis. However, he's ultimately defeated by Captain America, who is his Lawful Good counterpart. Their fight is pretty much a straightforward a classic Good vs. Evil battle as you can get.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this applies even moreso. After their defeat in the first film, they learned the folly in trying to stamp out freedom by force (as the Red Skull, convinced of his own superiority, had done), amd instead opt for a Type 1 approach, using the flaws in the current lawful system against it to slowly take over and corrupt it from the inside out. As such, they created a world so chaotic and dangerous that its people gladly ran to any kind of order they could find, allowing HYDRA to assume control without anyone ever noticing.
- The book version of Chocolat follows the pattern in The Film of the Book, but the agent of Lawful Evil is the village priest and not the Mayor (his Moral Event Horizon is where he gives a speech in one of his internal monologues which can be summed up as 'if I allow chocolate, then it will be followed by other evil things like sex and liberals'.) While it is possible to justify the priest's behaviour by examining the plot with his dying father, the film version was more careful than the book to avoid the trope.
- The Comte in The Film of the Book. He is willing to his power over the townspeople to turn them against what he considers "unwanted elements" in the town, essentially bullying said "unwanted elements" into moving away, but he is strictly against the use of violence, going as far as banishing the local bartender from the town for the rest of his life for burning down a houseboat belonging to a group of gypsies, which the Comte himself had disapproved of.
- The Big Bad of The Name of the Rose, and please don't read the spoilers if you may read the book one day, Jorge of Burgos, hates happiness and free will with religious zeal, to the point where he believes laughter to be the work of the Devil. Nothing short of utter monastic devotion, with him in charge, is acceptable.
- The inquisitor Bernard Gui is completely uninterested in finding the culprit for the murders, and stages a witch trial to discredit his opponents and enhance his reputation. What would you expect of a Middle Age inquisitor?
- Used in the Dragonlance novel The Doom Brigade. Draconians are supposedly Always Chaotic Evil, but Kang and Slith, the leaders of a draconian troop, teach the soldiers about honor, teamwork and loyalty in addition to hating the forces of good and especially elves. Although they start out as devoted servants of the evil goddess Takhisis, they slowly shift from Lawful Evil to Lawful Neutral - and in the end to Lawful Good, when they side against Mina and the forces of Takhisis at the end of Dragons of a Vanished Moon.
- Raistlin Majere. Willing to kill anybody who is either blocking him or no longer useful to him. But he scrupulously honors his debts, upholds the magic order, and claims his ultimate goal to be creating a new world once he achieves godhood.
- Raistlin's sister Kitiara. She is loyal to her family and Tanis Half-Elven, and appreciates the order and power the Dragonarmies bring, but she is not beyond some plotting for personal aggrandisement, so veers towards Neutral Evil. She probably qualifies as an example of Type 2 Lawful Evil.
- The minotaurs, likewise, are classed as a Lawful Evil race; while they believe most other races are so inferior as to be only good as slaves or corpses, they have a strict code of honour that they will adhere to. It's for this reason that they have grudging respect for Solamnic Knights, as well as their martial prowess.
- In Harry Potter:
- Umbridge exemplifies this trope, even if she initially appeared as Lawful Neutral to some. She works for the corrupted government, creates safe and harmless ways to practice magic, and yet makes students carve sentences in their hands with their own blood as detention, for contradicting the Minister of Magic. If anyone had any doubt that she was Lawful Evil at heart, Deathly Hallows removed it, with her cheerfully threatening Muggle-born witches and wizards with the Dementor's Kiss or hauling them off to Azkaban. She clearly seems to revel in doing harm to others, but just doesn't have the courage to do it outside the sanction of the law.
- The Malfoys easily fall here; they clearly prefer being in positions of power and privilege, and Lucius seemed to be at his best when he was working for Voldemort within the Ministry. After the fifth book, which both lost him his position at the Ministry and his favor with Voldemort, he seemed to be defeated.
- The Discworld offers a number of different variants on the alignment:
- The Auditors of Reality are something like the collective Anthropomorphic Personification of the rules of the universe. However, they have managed to develop a hostile, definitely not neutral, ironically human attitude towards life because it's so disorderly, and actively try to remove life and especially humanity from the universe.
Death: Down in the deepest kingdoms of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain and no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing but a tiny "yes" in the night. And yet... And yet... It has enemies who bear it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed. Are you with me so far?
Susan: "Well, yes, but—"
Death: Good. Now, imagine what they think of humanity.
- Ymper Trymon in The Light Fantastic seems like the type who would have become the head of the Unseen University by Klingon Promotion even if that hadn't been the customary way of going about it.
- Lilith de Tempscire of Witches Abroad thinks of herself as the good guy. She also enforces a tyrannical rule over a city where everyone has to follow fairytale tropes; it looks very neat, but no-one is allowed to step out of line, even if that means doing nothing actually wrong by moral standards.
- Vorbis, the head of the Quisition (ie. inquisition) of Omnia in Small Gods, believes that it is God's will that everyone's thoughts and actions be kept in line by means of strict social control, torture and killing.
- Evil Harry Dread in the The Last Hero selects his guards for stupidity and designs his dungeons to facilitate escape, all out of a sense of professional ethics and playing-the-game; he betrays Cohen and the Silver Horde at the first opportunity for exactly the same reason. He's actually praised by them for this; they would have had it no other way. Given Pratchett's attitude toward traditional heroic values, which often include looting, pillaging and ravishing maidens, it is unclear exactly what separates "Evil" Harry from his erstwhile foes, and as such he might be considered Lawful Neutral.
- Havelock Vetinari at one point describes himself this way to Samuel Vimes, citing that Good really can't plan — especially for when the Lawful Evil empire gets overthrown. However, his reign is overall benevolent enough that he could easily be seen as Lawful Neutral.
- Artemis Entreri from R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms book is officially this. Scarred at a young age by being continuously raped and beaten by his uncle and/or his father, then sold to a pedophile slave merchant at age nine by his mother (the only person he trusted and cared for, and the only one who'd never hurt him), then escaping across the desert on foot to live on the streets as a child thief, resulting in Artemis spending the rest of his life completely focused on refining his skills so that he need not rely on anyone else. He would not kill those who were not important or related to his objective simply because he had no reason to as it gains him nothing, though it's indicated he might have had a deeply-buried moral code of some kind, but he was wholly focused on himself. In the Sellswords trilogy, dark elf Jarlaxel managed to pry a little of the bitterness away (with the help of an emotional-manipulating flute); by the time Artemis takes his leave of Jarlaxel, he might not be very evil at all.
- Professor Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes - "The Napoleon of Crime".
- Augustus's wife Livia justifies all her murders and deceit by claiming that they were for the good of the empire.
- "Gentleman Johnnie" Marcone from The Dresden Files, a control-freak crime lord who keeps such an orderly rule over Chicago's criminal underworld that the authorities actually prefer having him there, rather than several rival gangs constantly fighting it out. He also has a definite sense of honor and obligations, and is a prime example of Even Evil Has Standards. Like the aforementioned Lord Vetinari, he straddles the line between Lawful Evil and Lawful Neutral.
- Laura Raith of the White Court of Vampires refuses to break a promise once given and prefers to manipulate a lawful system. Makes sense since White Court Vampires, while physically powerful, lack the savagery and raw power of the more chaotic evil creatures.
- The government of Oceania from George Orwell's novel 1984 (The most common inspiration for Lawful Evil in modern Western literature). While it at first appears to be the first kind, O'Brien's speech near the end of the book makes it quite clear that the Party is shooting for Type 4 in spades.
- Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, et al.:
- Sauron. Possibly a surprise to those who are only familiar with The Lord of the Rings (by which era he has undergone considerable canon Villain Decay and Motive Decay towards Chaotic Evil), but in the beginning, according to Word of God, he only followed Morgoth out of the desire to build a rigidly ordered empire, quite the opposite of Morgoth's motivations. The character of Saruman is in many ways a reflection of Sauron's original reasons for turning evil, and the contrast with present-day Sauron is meant to highlight how futile those desires for order are, as evil always ends in chaos.
Tolkien once explained evil is either total selfishness or total madness. Sauron was selfish — he wanted to rule the world, while Morgoth was insane — he simply wanted to destroy, spoil, maim and waste everything around him out of pure spite.
- Speaking of Saruman, he really passes through all three evil alignments during his career. He starts out as a Lawful Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist, devolved into a Neutral Evil who was only out for his own advancement, and ended up a Chaotic Evil revenge-obsessed loony after losing his powers and his base of operations.
- Tolkien once said Sauron has today no descendants, but Saruman has many apprentices, implying that the age of grand empires had gone, but many petty tyrants and dictators are carving themselves petty empires, especially in the underdeveloped countries.
- Fëanor in The Silmarillion, who went Motive Decay from Lawful Good to Lawful Neutral into Lawful Evil, raising a mutiny against the valar, resulting in Kinslaying of Alqualondë and drawing the High Elves (noldor) into exile, war and immeasurable sufferings — all because of the silmarils. Likewise, all Fëanor's sons can be considered to be Lawful Evil.
- Glen Cook's Black Company shows pretty well what Sauron could be if he didn't suffer Motive Decay — imagine him using Nazguls to patrol roads and being so merciless on any form of crime that even lone virgin can safely travel through Mordor, and you get Lady from The Books Of North
- Lord Tywin Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. His son Jaime probably also fits, up until his Heel-Face Turn.
- It's discussed around if Sansa Stark may or may not end up as this. On one hand, her (now, disappeared) clan is Lawful Good Or used to be. On the other, the kid's mentor is none other than Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish.
- Roose Bolton also comes across as this alignment, masking sadism with a polite and reasonable persona, and he always acts within the system and is a big believer in Pragmatic Villainy, knowing that the best guarantee of being a Karma Houdini is keeping a low profile. Also pretty Lawful Evil is his claim that his treachery toward the Starks was done for the good of the realm.
- The devils in The Screwtape Letters are a group of scheming bureaucrats who have quite a few rules in Hell to better manipulate each other with.
- The Las Vegas in Stephen King's The Stand run by Randall Flagg. They may be an evil kingdom but they execute drug-users by crucifixion. Arguably, this is due to the Lawful Evil Lloyd Henry running the day to day operations. Flagg himself, on the other hand, is far more chaotic and ultimately self-destructive.
- Roland Croninger, Colonel Macklin and the Army of Excellence in the post-apocalyptic novel Swan Song. After the bombs fall, they have a twisted desire to restore the United States by forming an army of raiders and acquiring enough people and resources to re-build a nation devoid of people marked by radiation burns. They also recognize the use of symbols (Nazi uniforms for one) and the power of fear. Roland and Macklin are both unhinged, but they have a twisted sense of loyalty to each other and are ruthlessly efficient in dividing up the spoils of their raids.
- King Gasam, in John Maddox Roberts's Stormlands series, who seems to be somewhat based off of Genghis Khan.
- The Book of Lord Shang explicitly states that it is better for a country to be run by evil men, because they will follow the law to the letter, while good men will be willing to overlook minor offenses if the perpetrator had a good reason.
- Many of the villains in Dean Koontz's novels act in a Lawful Evil manner. Helios from his Frankenstein Trilogy wants a perfectly ordered world run with the efficiency of a beehive and wants to replace humanity with a new race that will do just that. The villain in Midnight also works towards this, even though he only wants it to be his playground to fulfill his perverted and sadistic desires. The villains in Nightchills come up with an effective method of mind control through Subliminal Advertising and seek to make the world perfectly ordered, but their agent quickly succumbs to Power Perversion Potential when testing its effects on a small town. The government assassin in Dark Rivers of the Heart wants a world where everything is moderate and no one is ugly and is eager to kill those that seem too imperfect to live. The Conspiracy in Door To December wanted to rule the world and were willing to perform cruel psychic experiments on a little girl to give them the perfect spy. The cult in Servants of Twilight were Well Intentioned Extremists and Knight Templars and worked methodically to kill what they thought was the Antichrist. Even the sadistic and arbitrary serial killer in Intensity always keeps his word, has a well-ordered and scrubbed clean house, and paid for his purchases made at a gas-station after killing the attendant...because he is a killer, not a thief.
- Pick a slave narrative - from lecherous Dr. Flint in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to sadistic Simon Legree in Uncle Tom's Cabin, the slaveholder will be the first to insist another human being is "their property" to rape, torture and murder as they please because it's the law.
- The Vord Queen from Codex Alera is a rare Lawful Evil Omnicidal Maniac. She wants to wipe out all life that isn't Vord, but this is out of a compulsion innate to her species (she even calls it "the Purpose") rather than malice, and as a being of pure if twisted logic she's incredibly organized and structured in going about it.
- The Portland Protective Association in SM Stirling's Emberverse series, founded by SCAdians fulfilling their darker fantasies, lampshaded by their taking the Eye of Sauron as their symbol, although their leader, Norman Arminger has Neutral Evil tendencies as well. After their defeat and his death it slowly develops in a more Lawful Neutral / True Neutral direction.
- Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is a brutal and ruthless killer with a strict code of honor when it comes to fulfilling promises and honoring agreements, i.e. Carla Jean's murder and recovering the botched drug deal money.
- A large number of villains in The Wheel of Time. The darkfriend organization as a whole is actually surprisingly ordered, which is perhaps ironic considering the nature of the Dark One (hint: he wants to destroy reality), and many of the darkfriends we meet seem to be LE. Of the
Chosen Forsaken, Demandred, Sammael, Rahvin, Mesaana, and perhaps Be'lal exhibit clear signs of a lawful inclination. Of the non-shadow villains, Elaida evolves from Lawful Neutral to this as the series goes on. Others include several of the Whitecloaks, particularly Asunawa and Eamon Valda (and maybe Niall, depending on how you view his Well-Intentioned Extremist status), and a few of the Shaido. Therava is definitely LE, and Sevanna may be as well. And good chunks of the nobility of Tear and Cairhien.
- The Thrawn Trilogy's titular character is absolutely loyal to the Empire, strongly aristocratic and cultured, pragmatic and unwilling to treat his men as disposable, and a coldhearted, unapologetic Manipulative Bastard. The fact that despite this he's vastly less evil than most other Imperials in the Star Wars Expanded Universe says a lot about how black-and-white most of it is. His second-in-command, Pellaeon, starts as this and evolves, through Thrawn's more positive influences, into Lawful Neutral, even Lawful Good by the Hand of Thrawn duology.
- Darth Bane, who appears in the Darth Bane trilogy and various graphic novels, most notably Jedi vs. Sith mentions several times that if a death "serves no purpose", it is pointless and foolish to cause. Bane would never go out of his way to cause unnecessary chaos, and scorns those who would do so for the sake of their own amusement or ego. However, though he has no respect or obligation to serve any law, he does have an affinity for the Sith Code, saying that its words completely changed his perspective. A few examples of his Lawful Evil personality show when he slaughters a small family so that he may survive. In the scene, he is dying of a poisoning, and so he uses what little strength he has to first kill the children in front of the father, dragging out his torment, before finally killing him as well. In this manner, he 'feeds' off their fear as if it were sustenance, all the while justifying it by saying that they were weak, and that they were destined to serve him by dying. Had he not been dying, he wouldn't have looked at them twice. A chapter or two later, Bane meets the True Neutral healer Caleb (who refuses to help either light or dark), and manages to blackmail him into fully healing him, remarking afterwards that "his death would serve no purpose", and so lets him live.
- General Woundwort from Watership Down is a classic Lawful Evil villain. He truly believes his tyranny is what's best for rabbit-kind, and only kills those who actively resist him.
- According to the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel The Dark Path, the Master started his villainous career with this alignment. After experiencing a disastrous series of tragic events, he resolves to bring his own order to the universe at the expense of free will and becoming its Master. Whether he shifted to Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil by the time of the TV series is a matter of debate among fans.
- The Demon Headmaster is another textbook example, wanting a stable and well-ordered society, whatever the cost in terms of human life. The heroes are aware that he wouldn't bother trying to take over Britain / the world unless he actually believed his own rhetoric - otherwise, his powers could give him a cushy life with far less effort.
- The entire capitol in The Hunger Games is this, right down to the way they resort to forcing a bunch of kids and teenagers to slaughter each other on live television just to maintain their grip on the country of Panem.
- Redeemer Bosco from The Left Hand of God trilogy, the hated mentor of the protagonist Thomas Cale. He appears at first as a tyrannical and abusive disciplinarian as the Redeemers are prone to being to their novices, though he's not arbitrarily so (well, kind of isn't). This in itself would likely qualify him, but later his motives are revealed to be more complex: he's only cruel when it serves a purpose, and he's grooming Cale to the role of Angel of Death, the embodiment of God's wrath, who will wipe out humanity for its intolerable sins. As such, he's an Omnicidal Maniac who abuses children, tortures, kills and massacres, and despises humanity, but he's also rational given his insane aims, and sees them as being grounded in justice and duty.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Wily from the Mega Man Rock Opera Father of Death by The Protomen. Ever wonder how a conversation about to improve society would go if a Lawful Good and Lawful Evil character were the ones talking? Just listen to "The Good Doctor": Doctor Light talks about how the robots they will make will improve the lives of the poor miners, while Doctor Wily talks about how the robots will deliver him the power he thinks that he has earned. Both want the same thing for society, but for the opposite reasons.
- The album Master of Puppets by Metallica contains various themes of oppression, alienation, abuse, and zealotry.
- In the Dilbert strips, Catbert is the evil director of human resources who helps make the lives of Dilbert and his co-workers miserable by creating ethically questionable policies, never providing useful help, and downsizing workers.
- Ming the Merciless, ruler of Mongo in Flash Gordon. In the Flash Gordon film, the entire society of Mongo. They embrace cruelty and treachery, and the nobles plot overthrows and scheme against one another, but they always follow the articles of Ming's law. Vultan describes as being a "damn nuisance," but he follows it anyway when called upon.
- WWE's Triple H is often referred to as "The Cerebral Assassin" for the way he manipulates the system, his opponents, and anybody whose head he can get inside to maintain his position on top of the mountain. He's at his most comfortable when he's surrounded by "friends" who help him carry out his plans, but no matter what happens, he is always out for himself and his own betterment in the end. In short, he is a Jerkass Manipulative Bastard who is a huge Base Breaker and wrestling's best example of a Villain with Good Publicity.
- Vince McMahon in his kayfabe gimmick as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. The intro to Over The Edge 1998 sums up not just the "Mr McMahon" character but also the essence of his feud with the Chaotic Neutral "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
- Any heel with some degree of booking power is going to fit this trope. Examples besides the two above include The Corporation, Eric Bischoff, and the Immortal stable.
- Evil ECW referee Bill Alfonso is a definite Type 1. His whole act, from his debut at ECW Enter Sandman, May 13th, 1995, until he became the heel-turned Taz's manager at November to Remember, was about angering the fans by enforcing the rules in a promotion that generally avoided them.
- Satan is often portrayed as this, especially when dealing with contracts. There are many popular embodiments of this trope, especially with those referencing The Devil and Daniel Webster. This has much to do with works like The Divine Comedy, but it is one of the few things about Satan that Popular culture gets right.
- Dark Elves in Warhammer. They have a strict, law-bound society which is evil to the boot.
- The human domains, Bretonnia and Empire, also have shades of this, but not nearly to the degrees of their 40k counterpart.
- While many of them have different motivations setting them apart from each other, the Vampire Counts usually tend to lean in this direction too, especially as a larger force. They fight Chaos, but they are also bent on conquering the Empire and turning all of it's living citizens into undead minions not only to deny chaos new worshippers, but also to create a new order without any fear of resistance. Vlad von Carstein himself is a prime example of this, and he even came frighteningly close to achieving said goal too.
- The Tomb Kings, they are very content on staying on their deserts in Nehekara, but will send thousands of their skeletal legions on anyone who dares steals their treasure. They wage war with the dwarfs over a single coin, and will lay siege on the Empires capital to recover their magical artifacts locked in the wizards vaults.
- The Imperium of Man, Craftworld Eldar, Tau Empire, and Necrons of Warhammer 40,000 all lean towards this end to varying degrees-the first three vary between Lawful Evil and Lawful Neutral, while the last are so enigmatic that no one's sure where they fall, but Lawful Evil seems to fit them the most.
- Tzeentch and his servants are often mistaken for this by virtue of their scheming, cunning and seemingly methodical nature. They're always manipulating and working towards some end. Unfortunately there are no ends, just manipulation and scheming for its own sake. Hence Chaos.
- Considering Tzeentch reason for existing is to be a Magnificent Bastard and carry out insanely complicated plans for their own sake, one could argue he falls under Blue and Orange Morality.
- Perhaps best exemplified in the relationship between Tzeentch and his Greater Daemons, the Lords of Change. In both Warhammer and 40k lore, daemons are actually merely aspects of their parent Chaos god, and especially the Greater Daemons are -more or less- lesser avatars of the gods. The Lords of Change, thus being aspects of Tzeentch, have access to his/its knowledge and powers of precognition. It is stated in the fluff that Lords of Change can only be defeated if it's part of Tzeentch's plan, because in this instance he tricks his own daemon to further some ends. Considering the aforementioned relationship between the Chaos Gods and their Greater Daemons, this means that Tzeentch is not merely purposefully sacrificing his own chess pieces, but that he effectively does it in a game against himself. Chaos exemplified.
- The Chaos Marines known as the Word Bearers are more organized than the other Chaos space marines by devoting themselves to all four Chaos powers at once. They are chaos and evil that is restrained by religious devotion and military discipline. They are all willing to die for the greater glory of Chaos.
- Also the Red Corsairs. Like the Word Bearers, they are devoted to all four Chaos powers, and are thoroughly corrupted, but they still operate like a Space Marine chapter, with organized battle-companies and internal departments like a Librarium and Apothecarion.
- The Space Marine chapter the Marines Malevolence. They are loyal to the Imperium, but have low views on civilians, or anyone other than themselves for that matter. For them they will complete their mission at all costs, even if it means killing thousands of civilians in the crossfire.
- Hobgoblins in Dungeons & Dragons are just as brutal as orcs, but have a regimented society and cooperative spirit that makes them doubly dangerous.
- The Devils are the archetypal Lawful Evil creatures (as opposed to the Chaotic Evil Demons). They have a strict hierarchy, and seek to conquer rather destroy the multiverse. They are extremely organized but utterly ruthless. In 4th edition, Asmodeus, the lord of all devils was actually made into the god of Tyranny.
- Somewhat paradoxically he isn't Lawful Evil, as 4th removed that piece of the alignment table.
- Seeing as monks have to be Lawful Something, this would be the canonical alignment of a given D&D campaign's Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
- Pathfinder keeps Asmodeus as the God of Tyranny, and adds another Lawful Evil deity in Zon-Kuthon, god of darkness, envy, pain, and loss. With a strictly regimented church based around the initiate's ability to survive torture, Zon-Kuthon is an even more twisted version of this trope than the Well-Intentioned Extremist Asmodeus.
- Magic: The Gathering has the highly organized and deadly plane of Phyrexia and its lord Yawgmoth.
- The few White and Blue villains fall into this. As well as several Black villains, and villains that are a mixture of either two of those three colours.
- Blue does not necessarily mean lawful, but they do have lawful tendencies due to their close association with it's neighboring colour, white. This does not mean they aren't more flexible with rules, for example, so Neutral Evil and Chaotic Evil examples crop up occasionally.
- New Phyrexia unites the two previous examples, giving us the white praetor Elesh Norn and the blue praetor Jin-Gitaxias.
- The Orzhov Syndicate in Ravnica combines white's methods (law and order) with black's motivations (power and greed), resulting in a protection racket that masks itself as a church.
- Cecylene and She Who Lives In Her Name, two of the Yozis in Exalted, although for different reasons. Cecylene is Lawful Evil because she is a Social Darwinist who believes the strong have both a right and a duty to rule the weak. She Who Lives In Her Name, on the other hand, just hates individuality and free will with a passion.
- The Coalition States of Rifts is made out to be this: totalitarian, militaristic, and expansionist, strange as they have a Chaotic Evil emperor. The magical nation of Tolkeen became this alignment during their war with the coalition states, becoming their reflection and turning a blind eye to all the evil magic they embraced in order to fight the war.
- In the Old World of Darkness, the medieval Tzimisce and the few traditional or "Old Clan" Tzimisce elders in modern times are this. They are utterly cruel and merciless, and adhere to a highly alien philosophical system. At the same time, they are highly cultivated and intellectual, courteous in the extreme to other Cainites (sometimes even to their mortal victims, although then it's probably more a form of elaborate cruelty) and bound by their own odd, but existent brand of an honour system. They are fully capable of lying, but never of betraying their word. And Tzimisce hospitality laws ensure that, if another Cainite, even from an enemy clan, is given guest-right in their domain, he/she is perfectly safe from harm: the Tzimisce will treat him as being under their protection even if they're mortal enemies, simply because "tradition dictates so".
- The Sabbat followers on the Path of Honorable Accord place honor and chivalry foremost and never go back on their word, unlike the rest of their Chaotic Evil brethren. Their chivalry does not mean that they are any nicer to humans, however.
- The Camarilla, the organization of vampires that are presented as the "good guys" of the setting, follow a strict Obstructive Code of Conduct to ensure the survival of kindred everywhere, the most important of which is the titular Masquerade which the setting is based around, and are willing to go through almost any length to enforce it. While of course most vampires within the Camarilla are generally nicer than this, most elders of the sect are extremely manipulative, not caring much about the moral implications of these things, as long as they can enforce these golden rules that keep the kindred as a society alive in a world that would easily want them dead if they got found out.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Redcloak is a textbook example of having a Lawful Evil attitude and proud of it:
Redcloak: Do they think crushing an entire civilization beneath our heels "just happens?" It's all fun and games for them, but I'm the one who has to make the magical lightning-powered trains run on time.
- Elan's Evil Twin brother Nale is also LE, all the better to contrast with the Chaotic Good Elan. Much like Belkar and Xykon are both Chaotic Evil but ultimately very different both in personality and motive, they're not all that similar. Alignment not being a straitjacket is one of the comic's major themes.
- Daimyo Kubota, a corrupt aristocrat of Azure City, can be considered Lawful Evil, exploiting every legal loophole he could find in his schemes to assassinate Hinjo and seize power. It takes a bit of chaotic action to bring him down.
- General Tarquin's version of Lawful Evil comes through Genre Savvy: Tarquin treats his life as an ongoing narrative arc in a Heroic Fantasy (in which he is the Evil Overlord fated to one day fall in an epic battle against a worthy hero), making him Genre Savvy because he knows the tropes and clichés and can act appropriately to shape it to his liking in accordance to the Theory of Narrative Causality. On the flip side it means he judges people according to their story role (or, at least, what he thinks is their role) and has little to no understanding of them as people. He's quick to get rid of, or in the rare cases where they mater to him for some reason correct, people who don't stick to (his vision for) the script.
Tarquin: As I've said before, procedure matters. [The Safety of the world] is meaningless if everyone is going to run around doing whatever they feel like, without regard for proper story structure. There must be some sense of order — personal, political, or dramatic — and if no one else is going to bring it to this world, I will.
- Tarvek Sturmvaraus, most likely. He seems to care about his subjects in Sturmhalten and he prefers it when people help him voluntarily, but part of his plan to take over the Baron's empire involved using The Other's technology to help him win the battle of hearts and minds with mind control.
- He's confirmed himself to be this by one of his latest rants:
: If someone can't handle an unpleasant truth? Lie to them. If someone won't listen to reason? Make them. If people don't choose to live peaceable? Don't give them a choice. If you don't like the rules - change the game.
- All of which he says he learned from Baron Wulfenbach, who is himself either Lawful Evil or Lawful Neutral.
- The particular hat of elves in 8-Bit Theater, from main character Thief to villain Astos. This accurately sums up the 'easier to become ruler of the world by exploiting the existing system' flavour of their Always Lawful Evil tendencies.
- The Elite Guard from Goblins are almost explicitly Lawful Evil - they're confirmed Evil, and it's hard to imagine a guard could be anything but Lawful.
- In Looking for Group, this seems to be the default alignment for Legaria, especially Aelloon.
- The majority of The Feline Empire in Blade of Toshubi are of this alignment. Advisor Toh, Lamika and Major Kohi are probably Neutral Evil, though.
- Gordon Frohman of Concerned is a fanatical follower of The Combine and is a self-proclaimed enemy of the Human Resistance and Gordon Freeman due to a genuine and incredibly idiotic love of tyranny.
- Brian and Angelo, from Our Little Adventure. They run a tyrannical empire together but seem hung up on professionalism and try their best to be friendly with the staff. Even Angelo said he would make amends to the employee he killed by resurrecting her and giving her a raise.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- Psyk the demon in is the organiser and voice of reason among the generally more chaotic inhabitants of the Dimension of Pain. Towards his fellow demons, he is Lawful Neutral, almost a Nice Guy. That doesn't keep him from slaughtering and conquering humans along with the others when they get a chance, though.
- Binky and Clyde are initially two mooks working for the supervillainish crime-lord Crushestro. They identify themselves as evil minions first and foremost, so that when they end up in a random dimension, they gladly take orders from Dambdulf the wizard just after meeting him once they interpret his order to Shoot the Dog as evil. They go on to decide to become heroes instead and save the town of Dumbblefolk from dragons... only to switch sides again as soon as they are asked to defend it from an evil wizard because he gives them a chance to be evil minions again, and that's just what they do. And they live happily ever after.
- Megatron in almost all of his incarnations, especially Beast Wars and Transformers Animated. In most cases he seeks to tear down the existing order (which he sees as unfair and corrupt) and replace it with his own. As the leader of the Decepticons he rules them with an iron fist.
- Lockdown from Transformers Animated is also Lawful Evil - after all, a well ordered system is so much easier to exploit - but it is very obvious that he prefers to work for the Decepticons, because Evil Pays Better.
- Swindle is exactly the same - at one point he even mentions Lockdown as a kind of business associate.
- Clock King, a villain from Batman: The Animated Series, who did everything according to his own by-the-minute schedule every single day. The one time he didn't...er, things didn't go so well.
- Most of the villains from Kim Possible, since they do follow the traditions of villainy. Often exploited because it is this very tradition that lets Team Possible come out of the traps alive.
- Señor Senior Senior, in particular, goes by the book (of villainy).
- The only exception is Shego who's Neutral Evil and not interested/motivated in taking over the world and Warhok and Warmonga who are Chaotic Evil, as they want to destroy the world instead.
- The Venture Bros.: parodied/deconstructed with the Guild of Calamitous Intent.
- Lemongrab of Adventure Time. Although he isn't evil, and is arguably a sympathetic character (thanks to his... eh, delicate mental condition,) he does end up sending everybody in the kingdom to the dungeon, when he's in power. All he wants is order, peace and quiet, and cleanliness. Unfortunately, he tries to achieve this through terribly misguided means.
- Later on, he DOES become evil and unsympathetic due to his desire to make his earldom orderly to impress his "mother", turning on his own children and brother in the process and becoming a truly Lawful Evil dictator. He ends up killed and then remade and merged pieces of his brother, so hopefully he'll be better off now.
- "Hail Cobra!"
- Total Drama Action: Courtney fits this trope, seeing how she calls her lawyers when something doesn't go her way.
- HP and the pixies on The Fairly OddParents want to bring absolute order to both Fairy World and Earth. This is, until "Fairly Oddbaby" where they randomly team up with the anti-fairies and try to destroy Earth.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender's Dai Li and their leader Long Feng are the purest Lawful Evil. They're all about preserving order and stability at the cost of happiness and free will, and have connived and manipulated their way to the top of the government in Ba Sing Se to make sure of that. Favored tactics include kidnapping, misinformation, and total brainwashing.
- Fire Lord Sozin and Fire Lord Azulon also fit the alignment.
- Councilman Tarrlok from Sequel Series The Legend of Korra fits this definition as well. The equalists, and especially their leader Amon, too, being a revolutionary movement with clear goals, hierarchy and precision.
- Chieftain Unalaq, Korra's uncle, started out this way but soon devolved into Neutral Evil.
- As of the Korra Book 4, former Metal Clan guard captain turned would-be dictator Kuvira seems going in this direction.
- Chase Young of Xiaolin Showdown; he is scrupulously honest in his dealings with the protagonists and always keeps his word.
- Lucius Henious VII on Jimmy Two-Shoes runs Miseryville with an iron fist, and he actively goes against anyone who doesn't conform to his rules.
- The Delightful Children From Down The Lane.
- Jailbot catches criminals, enforces the rules, and unquestioningly carries out the Warden's commands. He tends to go a little overboard in his execution.
- Megabyte sought to conquer all of Mainframe, and also the Supercomputer, because that was his viral imperative, in direct opposition to his sister Hexadecimal, who was a batshit crazy chaos virus.
- Magnificent Bitch Nerissa of W.I.T.C.H..
- Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks is either this or Lawful Neutral depending on what race he's addressing. The senior Ed Wuncler is a straight example.
- Uncle Ruckus is a very unpleasant man, but episodes have went out of there way to show he's far from evil. Obnoxious, but not at all evil.
- Big Bad Venger from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon does have a few deceptive schemes, but if he strikes a deal with someone, he's not likely to be the one who breaks it, and the heroes are often surprised that he doesn't backstab them when they agree to cooperate.