Names To Run Away From: Titles
A form of Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Certain military ranks, Nobility titles, and plain old titles carry tinges of evil all by themselves. Avoid anyone with the following ranks: Subtypes with their own pages include The Baroness and The Emperor. Compare Meaningful Titles. See also Morally Ambiguous Doctorate and Aristocrats Are Evil.
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Ever since Manfred von Richthofen became the terror of the skies against the Entente in World War I, every Baron automatically catches his tinge. See also The Baroness. Comic Books
- Jack Kirby's Demon had a minor villain named Baron von Evilstein.
- Baron Zemo, member of Captain America's Rogues Gallery.
- Also Baron Strucker, another foe of Captain America
- Baron Hans von Hammer, better known as Enemy Ace
- Baron and Baroness Bomburst from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Baron Von Ruthless in The Incredibles. We only have his name to go by as he didn't actually appear, but it definitely fits the trope description.
- Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die.
- Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from Dune.
- Baron Soontir Fel of the Star Wars Expanded Universe is a borderline case. He serves the Empire, and from his last name you'd expect him to fall from grace—indeed, it's not clear for a while where his loyalties lie. He defects from the Empire, partly out of disgust about what Ysanne Isard and s have turned the Empire into, and joins the Rogues, but there are various hints that he may or may not turn again. After the comics didn't end, he vanished, captured by Isard... and, as it turns out in the Hand of Thrawn duology, captured because Grand Admiral Thrawn wanted him. Thrawn showed him something, implied but never stated to be the oncoming Vong invasion, and Fel joined Thrawn's Empire, which wasn't part of Palpatine's Empire at all. Ultimately Fel is one of the good guys, just not the kind to wear New Republic colors.
- The Bloody Baron, the scariest ghost in Hogwarts, who murdered his lover out of jealousy. He remains the only being capable of keeping Peeves in check.
- Baron Vengeous from Skulduggery Pleasant. Gee, d'you think he might be evil?
- Baron Blade from Sentinels of the Multiverse.
- Arguably, the entire Kingdom of Baron in Final Fantasy IV. However, this is mainly due to Golbez sending Cagnazzo, the Archfiend of Water, to kill King Baron and take his place.
- Baron Praxis of the Jak and Daxter series, commonly referred to as just "The Baron."
- Several of them in World of Warcraft, like death knight Baron Rivendare, or in the manga, Baron Valimar Mordis.
- Barons of Hell, in Doom and Doom 2.
- Girl Genius: Don't make Baron Klaus Wulfenbach come over there.
- YTMND: Baron Lasers
- Baron Otto Matic from Tom Slick, etc.
- Baron Dark from Skeleton Warriors. Turning people to skeletons bolsters his forces. He rather enjoys it too.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus did a parody of James Bond called "The Bishop."
- Blackadder: The baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, who drowns babies in the font and eats them in the vestry. He is a colossal pervert, and enjoys the more violent parts of his work far too much. Such as putting red-hot pokers up the backsides of people who can't pay back their debts.
- In Aldous Huxley's After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, amoral scientist Dr. Obispo (Spanish for "Bishop").
Also has a particularly nasty history associated with it, particularly if preceded by the modifiers 'Political,' 'Military,' or (especially) 'People's'. In the Soviet Union during The Great Patriotic War the Commisars were the ones authorized to order the killings of Soviet troops who retreated, deserted or in ways "sabotaged" the Soviet war effort. Tabletop Games
- Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The ostensible leader of the systems rebelling against the Galactic Republic leading their forces in the ensuing Civil War, he's also a Sith Lord, and Palpatine's latest minion.
- Especially Count Dracula.
- The Count of Groundsoaking Blood. A large and imposing vampire who commands spiders, can summon spikes of rock from the ground, can create flying swords and has come back from total annihilation about three times (depending on whether you consider the Mega Man Battle Network crossovers canon).
- Count Bleck from Super Paper Mario.
- Count Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorf, Berlin SA leader, who also has a suitably foreboding surname.
The title of choice for someone involved in a Corrupt Corporation's Mad Science department, or a secret government program. May also have a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate that they're putting to use in the program they're directing, possibly for the creation of The Virus or Super Soldiers. It's also worth noting that this kind of Director is likely the person in charge of a number of people with Morally Ambiguous Doctorates, whether they themselves have a degree or not. Anime
- Director Kakuzawa of Elfen Lied.
- The Director running the covert program releasing the monsters in The Cabin in the Woods, played by Sigourney Weaver.
- The Director of Project Freelancer, Dr. Leonard Church, is an excellent example.
If you get an M.D. or a Ph.D., you might as well grow a handlebar mustache and start practicing your Evil Laugh. Bonus points for insanity. See also Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. However, if "The Doctor" is the entirety of your name (that we know of) there may yet be hope... Anime and Manga
- The Doctor from Hellsing. Creator of artificial vamps. Snazzy glasses. Complete insanity. Winning trifecta.
- YuYu Hakusho:
- Minoru Kamiya, alias Doctor. Believed the human race was diseased, paralyzed a character, attempted mass murder -running away from him was a good thing.
- Dr. Ichigaki from the first Demon World tournament arc. He offered to cure a wise old teacher if three of his students fought for him. He'd made the teacher sick and used the students as guinea pigs.
- Doctor Doom.
- Some fans call into question Doctor Doom's academic credentials since he was kicked out of State University after the accident that disfigured his face. Still, as ruler of Latveria he presumably had time to finish his thesis at Doomstadt University or have them award him an honorary one...
- Doctor Cyber, Doctor Death, Doctor Destiny, Doctor Light, Doctor Moon, Doctor No-Face, Doctor Phosphorus, Doctor Psycho... DC seems to like this.
- Doctor Evil of the Austin Powers movies. A parody of Blofeld from James Bond, he's a stereotypical "hold the world ransom" villain.
- Doctor Victor von Frankenstein. However, in the original novel it is plain Victor Frankenstein, as he made the monster while a student and never got his doctorate.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Doctor Jekyll.
- Then again ... there's been a few times when The Doctor has kindly suggested that the Monster of the Week run away. And in-universe he's made the living incarnations of Space Nazi hate-hate-hate flinch. With words. Or as the Eleventh Doctor put it when facing down alien of the week . "Hello, I'm the Doctor. Basically, run". They wisely did. Though this trope only applies if you are evil, otherwise The Doctor falls under Names to Trust Immediately.
The Doctor: Imagine you were dying. Imagine you were afraid and a long way from home in terrible pain. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, you looked up and saw the face of the Devil himself. Hello, Dalek.
- In "A Good Man Goes to War," The Doctor finds out this reputation is slowly changing the meaning of his name across time from "healer" to "warrior."
- While Team Fortress 2's Medic is a boon to his team-mates, his background ("From Stuttgart, at a time when the Hippocratic Oath was downgraded to a Hippocratic suggestion") and lines ("Ze hurting is more rewarding than ze healing!") suggest he's no more kind-hearted than them.
- "Doctor Loboto" from Psychonauts likes to extract children's brains, the name an allusion to lobotomies (which would be the destruction of part of said brains, which is almost as creepy as what he does with them).
- The Doctor from Cave Story.
- Hello, Dr. Iwamine Shuu.
- Dr. Zed from Borderlands and Borderlands 2.
- Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Dr. Neo Cortex from Crash Bandicoot.
- Doc Scratch from Homestuck.
- The Spoony Experiment: "All I had to do was run for president?! I wasn't even really taking this all that seriously! I even used my real name! You voted for a guy named DOCTOR INSANO!!"
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog gives us the title character. He has a Ph. D. in HORRIBLENESS.
Anime and Manga Literature
- Tortall Universe: Duke Roger of Conte, so terrifyingly powerful a sorcerer no one in Tortall would dare face him except a Determinator Action Girl protecting her prince—and he even orchestrates his return from the dead.
- You don't want to be around Duke Nukem when he starts to kick ass and chew bubble gum.
- So many Fire Emblem villains... so many.
- A minigun-toting boss in Win Back.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has The Duke, the nickname of one of the Freedom Fighters (we never learn his real name). It's ironic because The Duke is a tiny kid who was orphaned by the Fire Nation. The Ironic Nicknaming of his Gentle Giant friend Pipsqueak makes things even funnier.
- G.I. Joe: When one captures one Sgt. Conrad "Duke" Hauser, it usually does not end well. He comes back. With Friends. And tears your fortress to the ground.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Duke Nukem (no not that one...that's another entry.) This one loves radioactivity, Hollywood style.
The title "Führer" (leader, guide) has been taken out of the German lexicon* due to... you know who. No self-respecting German leader would dare allow the word to be applied to them these days. Any title that would have used the word prior to 1946 now uses the word Leiter in its place. A character with this title in any modern work is almost certainly a Nazi. Anime and Manga
- Führer King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist and oddly, "King" is his first name, not part of his title.
- There's Hitler himself of course, but stylizing themselves as some variant of "leader" was very popular with the Fascist collaborators in the countries Germany occupied during the war. Vidkun Quisling, the puppet ruler of Norway, even used the closest Norwegian cognate, Fører.
- There are also Italian and /Spanish equivalents, the Duce and the Caudillo, used by Hitler's fellow travelers Mussolini and Franco.
General / Generalissimo
While the lower officer ranks may have their share of heroes who risk their lives on the front lines, your average General sits in his cushy headquarters plotting the destruction of all who stand in his way. Expect them to be sinister General Rippers. General is also something of a toss-up, as the title has a roughly equal chance of instead applying to a morally good and skilled Four-Star Badass who is a true Father to His Men instead. Generalissimo however is almost always indicative of evil, at least in Anglophone fiction. Anime
- General Blue in Dragon Ball, and General Rildo in Dragon Ball GT.
- General Zeong, Big Bad of SD Gundam's second season.
- Revenge of the Sith: General Grievous.
- RedLetterMedia's Mr. Plinkett mocks the fantastic unsubtleness of Grievous' name thusly:
"Also on this ship is Commander Nefarious, Captain I'm-A-Bad-Guy, and Admiral Bone-to-Pick. But they don't mention them."
- RedLetterMedia's Mr. Plinkett mocks the fantastic unsubtleness of Grievous' name thusly:
- Watership Down: General Woundwort.
- General Mandek is the general of the entire Orc Army in the game Dragon Rage.
- Several bosses from World of Warcraft, including General Drakkisath (a dragon), General Angerforge (a dwarf), General Rajaxx (a giant insectoid thing), General Vezax (a faceless one), General Pa'valak (a mantid), and General Nazgrim (an orc).
- Gears of War: General RAAM, leader of the locust hordes.
- StarCraft: General Duke.
- Star Fox Adventures:
- Generalissimo Killt in Bionic Commando.
- General Knoxx from Borderlands.
- Both in fiction and in real life, you should run away from anyone holding the rank of Generalissimo.
- Especially if you're in Taiwan, during the White Terror.
- Except Foch, if you're not German.
While they may not be the most powerful rank in all the land, they are powerful enough to cause trouble for the protagonists, and if they are ambiguous enough, those above them might be threatened as well. If those above them are Reasonable Authority Figure, and the governor is not, expect a grab for power. Live-Action TV
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Kodos the Executioner, who was governor of a human colony that was facing starvation because of an exotic fungus. He executed 4,000 citizens in order to see to it that the other 2,000 wouldn't starve. He later disappeared, presumed dead, but in reality, had changed his name and was living life as an actor.
- The Walking Dead: The Governor himself.
- Pocahontas: Governor Ratcliffe, leader of the English expedition in Virginia. Racist, classist, and an all-around asshole. Manages to escape punishment after the events of the first movie because of his social status.
- Judge Dredd. In fact, any Judge in Mega City One deserves a healthy dose of fear and respect, but Dredd is the toughest, meanest and most downright unstoppable of them all.
- And of course Judge Fear, Judge Fire, Judge Mortis and Judge Death, the four Dark Judges. Immortal undead who destroyed all life in their home dimension, and are attempting to do the same to Dredd's.
- Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. A Hanging Judge of the highest order, his stated goal is to create order in the toon anarchy, and the only way to make them respect the law is to execute all transgressors with his self-designed toon killing liquid, the Dip.
- Judge Holden (more commonly referred to as "the judge") of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. The man easily ranks as one of the most violent and fundamentally evil murderers in the history of fiction. A giant, albino and utterly hairless murderer, the judge incites a mob to hang an innocent preacher under false pretenses, is a pedophile and rapes and murders many children, leashes and subjugates a mentally disabled man as though he were a dog and scalps countless Native Americans. Not only is he utterly without morals, the judge is also an incredibly intelligent, Omnidisciplinary Scientist and strong enough to wield a mounted howitzer as most men would a shotgun. In the novel's final pages it is implied that the judge is less a man and more an immortal force of nature and warfare—a god of violence and depravity, if you will.
Khan was the title of the ruler among various nomadic peoples of the Central Asian Steppes. Since these peoples had occasional habit of launching wars of conquest against their agrarian neighbors, people with "khan" next to their name became objects of much fear. See, for example, Genghis Khan. Tabletop Games
- In BattleTech, the word Khan is generally used as a rank for the leader of a particular Clan. There are three variations of it. A kaKhan (though this term is rarely used in lore itself and is simply substituted for "Khan") is essentially the head-in-charge of the entire Clan and oversees their operations; a saKhan is the second-in-command of the Clan and answers to the ruling Khan; the ilKhan is essentially the commander-in-chief of all of the Clans, and is equivalent to the Real Life word "Khagan" (literally "Khan of Khans"). These ranks are very equivalent to Vice Admiral/Lieutenant General (for "saKhan"), Admiral/General (for "kaKhan"), and Admiral of the Navy/General of the Army/Air Force (for "ilKhan") in Real Life militaries.
In particular, watch out for anyone who's so much of a Card-Carrying Villain that they style themselves as "Dark Lords" or even Evil Overlords. Film
- In Star Wars, the Dark Lords of the Sith. Sometimes, this title even makes its way into conversation. (Lord Vader, Lord Sidious, etc.)
- From The Cabin in the Woods comes Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain. He's a Cenobite, so he lives to satiate his victims' desires by bringing them new "pleasures", eternal torture.
- The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers in The Chronicles of Riddick, who leads his Religion of Evil on their campaign of annihilating inhabited worlds and enslaving those who can witstand their conversion process.
- Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. Dark Lord, Master of the Dark Arts, and ruler of the Death Eaters, he wants to live forever and bring the wizarding world under his supremacy so he can enslave the Muggles and eradicate the half-bloods.
- Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Lord Foul the Despiser. He's every bit as pleasant as the name suggests.
- Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork. He actually considers himself evil, and rules by the principle of One Man, One Vote. He is The Man.
- Lord Dyrr, the de facto ruler of House Agrach Dyrr. Also working for an evil god who intends to turn Menzoberranzan into a male-dominated society.
- Lord Vile from ''Skulduggery Pleasant'. The most powerful Necromancer in the world, who slaughters entire battlefields without a second thought. He was born from the tremendous anger and grief of Skulduggery himself. He doesn't care who his enemy is, as long as he has one.
- God is frequently referred to as "the Lord." While not evil by official canon, He's certainly unimaginably powerful and commanding respect.
- Fallout: New Vegas awards the player the achievement title "Lord Death of Murder Mountain" for killing 1000 of anything over the course of the game.
- Darth Nihilus, the Lord of Hunger, from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
- Lord Saddler in Resident Evil 4.
- Lord Vanaduke in Spiral Knights.
- Lord Dearche, Big Bad of the first Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable game and Token Evil Teammate of the second game.
- Lord English from Homestuck.
- Lord Dregg, the Big Bad of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles following Cerebus Syndrome.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: If someone is the Firelord, you just know they're not going to be very nice. It gets worse once Firelord Ozai becomes Phoenix King Ozai, though.
- On the other hand, when Zuko takes over, he retains the title "Firelord", as do his descendents (even the women). It also predated Firelord Sozin; prior to the war Sozin started, relations between the four nations were pretty typical and the Firelord wasn't seen as any more villainous than his peers in other nations.
- Lord Hater from Wander over Yonder.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1", Tirek introduces himself as Lord Tirek.
- The Swedish name of the Eurasian Bullfinch is "Domherre", literally meaning Judgment Lord.
Anime and Manga
- Hellsing's Big Bads are all referred only by title, and the sheer insanity of his voice makes him qualify.
- The Major, from Ghost in the Shell. One of a handful in the world who can hack directly into your soul.
- Major Disaster
Especially "The Master", which is its own trope. Comic Books
- The Maestro, an evil alternate universe version of The Hulk.
- Both Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have examples of evil beings named "The Master".
- Master Org from Power Rangers Wild Force and Master Xandred from Power Rangers Samurai.
- Grandmaster Meio in Strider.
- Master D in Bionic Commando.
- The Grandmaster class in Fire Emblem Awakening. Only the player character has it initially (though it can be passed to their children), and it allows the character to change into any class that their gender allows.
- Used a lot on The Erotic Mind Control Story Archive.
Even a humble honorific can intimidate if the character has no first name. Comic Books Film
- Mister Book and Mister Hand in Dark City.
- All of the Strangers address each this way.
- Mr. Glass in Unbreakable. A realistic supervillain who killed hundreds of people in mass disasters so he could find his antithesis, a real superhero.
- Mister Monday from the Keys to the Kingdom series.
- Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar from Neverwhere.
- And Mr Wednesday, Mr Town, Mr Wood, Mr Stone, Mr Road and Mr World from American Gods.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Mr. Hyde.
- Discworld: Commander Vimes is known by some as 'Mister Vimes'.
- The archetypal "Mr. Johnson" from Shadowrun
See also The Evil Prince, which is when they usurp the throne. Literature
- The Harry Potter books have "The Half-Blood Prince", Severus Snape (a pun on his mom's maiden name, Prince).
- Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, which was essentially a Renaissance-era Evil Overlord List.
- In Homestuck, Dirk's SBURB title is the Prince of Heart, which he complains about - until Calliope explains that, with the actual powers of the class and aspect, it really means Destroyer of Souls.
When academics, or at least would-be academics, go bad. Comic Books Batman's recurring villain Professor Pyg. Literature
- Sherlock Holmes: Professor Moriarty. The head of a large and very active criminal ring.
Captain, Commander and high ranks are good too, either for villains but more so for antiheroes (or just straight up good-guy heroes). Anything lower tends to lack oomph. After all, nobody's scared of a Private. Sergeants, on the hand... Anime and Manga Film Literature
- Visser Three/One from Animorphs. Also Jake, depending on whose side you're on.
- Bonus points for being evocative (if not derivative) of a title that's almost always evil.
- Charles Dickens once wrote a short story called Captain Murderer.
- The Great Houses in Faction Paradox. Bonus points for their home planet simply being called the Homeworld, due to it more deserving of the name than whatever planet anyone who argued was on. They're such a humble people.
- The Lord of the Rings also has the Witch-King of Angmar, the undead warrior who leads Dark Lord Sauron's evil armies and tries to find his master's ring.
- Space Marine Battles have Warmaster Umbragg of the Brazen Flesh, the leader of an omnicidal warband wearing Unstoppable Rage as its hat.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also Kendra the Vampire Slayer.
- Typhus, Host of the Destroyer Plague: possibly the only name to include three of the major categories in a name of five words, and still be sinister.
- Wild ARMS 2. Brad Evan's Character Class is "Prisoner 666".
- Mass Effect: Commander Shepard. Full stop. Renegade or Paragon doesn't matter. If you're in his/her way or hurt his/her crew, you -will- regret it.
- Tyrants in the Resident Evil series.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Any time the player encounters a demon in the Fiend category, they can be sure that a particularly nasty battle is impending.
- Warmaster Seerus from Spiral Knights.
- Captain DuPree from Girl Genius.
- Commander-turned-Admiral Zhao and Fire Lord-turned-Phoenix King Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- The Legend of Korra gives us Chief Beifong, leader of Republic City's Metalbending Police. She's the daughter of Toph from the original show, so you know she's a badass.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: "That's Mister Doctor Professor Patrick to you!"