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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.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Baron 
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

Film

Literature
  • 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.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Girl Genius: Don't make Baron Klaus Wulfenbach come over there.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Baron Otto Matic from Tom Slick, etc.
  • Baron Dark from Skeleton Warriors. Turning people to skeletons bolsters his forces. He rather enjoys it too.

    Bishop 
Live-Action TV
  • 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.

Literature

Western Animation

    Boss 
Video Games

    Commandant 
Video Games
  • The name of Lucien's top commander in Fable
  • A recurring theme throughout the Tales Series.

    Commissar 
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
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Commissariat: an organization made up of many different kinds of people, from those that shouldn't be feared, like Ciaphas Cain, to villains whose men would stop rebelling if he just stopped flogging them.

    Count 
Film
  • 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.

Literature

Video Games
  • 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).

Real Life
  • Count Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorf, Berlin SA leader, who also has a suitably foreboding surname.

    Director 
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

Film
  • The Director running the covert program releasing the monsters in The Cabin in the Woods, played by Sigourney Weaver.

Web Original

    Doctor 
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.

Comic Books
  • 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.

Film
  • Doctor Evil of the Austin Powers movies. A parody of Blofeld from James Bond, he's a stereotypical "hold the world ransom" villain.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • 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.
    • 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."
    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.

Video Games
  • 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.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • 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!!"
  • Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog gives us the title character. He has a Ph. D. in HORRIBLENESS.

Western Animation

    Duke 

Anime & 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.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • 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.

    Führer 
The title "Fuhrer" (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 & Manga
  • Fuhrer King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist, though calling himself "Fuhrer" sort of comes off as a silly use of Godwin's Law. And oddly, "King" is his first name, not part of his title.

Real Life
  • 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.

    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

Comic Books

Film

Literature

Video Games

Real Life
  • 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.

    Judge 
Comic Books
  • 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.

Film
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

    Lord 
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.

Live-Action TV

Literature
  • 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.

Religion and Mythology
  • God is frequently referred to as "the Lord." While not evil by official canon, He's certainly unimaginably powerful and commanding respect.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

Real Life
  • The Swedish name of the Eurasian Bullfinch is "Domherre", literally meaning Judgment Lord.

    Major 
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.

Comic Book
  • Major Disaster

Film

Video Games
  • Metal Gear Solid 3:
    • Major Zero seems like such a nice guy in Metal Gear Solid 3. Went on to found the Patriots and pursue total control of all information.
    • Major Ocelot, who would later be known as Revolver Ocelot.

    Master 
Especially "The Master", which is its own trope.

Comic Books
  • The Maestro, an evil alternate universe version of The Hulk.

Film

Live-Action TV

Video Games

Web Original
  • Used a lot on The Erotic Mind Control Story Archive.

    Mister 
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.

Literature

Tabletop Games
  • The archetypal "Mr. Johnson" from Shadowrun

    Prince 
See also The Evil Prince, which is when they usurp the throne.

Literature

Webcomics
  • 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.

    Professor 
When academics, or at least would-be academics, go bad.

Literature
  • Sherlock Holmes: Professor Moriarty. The head of a large and very active criminal ring.

Live-Action TV

Western Animation
  • South Park: Professor Chaos, bringer of destruction and doom, is the latter.
  • Kim Possible villain Professor Dementor.

    Other 
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.
  • 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.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • 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.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation


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