Follow TV Tropes

Following

Always Chaotic Evil / Literature

Go To

  • Already a Subverted Trope in the eleventh century epic The Shahnameh, written by Persian poet Ferdowsi and drawing from much older myths. Zal, the son of the Shah's Pehliva (king's champion) goes to Kabul, and is well-received by the royal family, despite the fact that they descend from an evil three-headed dragon who ate brains, learnt magic from the Ahriman, the Zoroastrian devil equivalent and tried to Take Over the World. Zal was warned not to sleep in their home or eat their food, and complies, candidly saying why (he was raised by a bird and has No Social Skills). Deeply humiliated, king Mehrab... does nothing, and keeps treating him well, even innocently recounting the whole thing and praising him to his daughter Rudabeh behind closed doors. The proud Rudabeh he starts acting like The Vamp, seduces Zal, and they proclaim their desire to marry against the Shah and his father's advice... and nothing bad happens until the shah and Zal's father march against Mehrab's kingdom. Then, Mehrab finally has enough... and asks his daughter if she would agree to be executed by the Shah, to save their people. At this point, Zal goes to his father and performs a guilt slinging over his abandonment of him as a child, and the girl's mother goes the Shah, convinces him to take a good look at her daughter, and proves him that she isn't a man-eating serpent. Everything ends well.
  • Advertisement:
  • Vampires in Almost Night all delight in causing pain and death. They are capable of playing along with society's rules and refrain from murdering people, but they still unleash their sadistic fury on animals behind closed doors. Possibly also the Eldritch Abomination races seen briefly.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, we have a race which is Always Lawful Stupid: the callous and bureaucratic Vogons. Douglas Adams came up with a justification for this which was put into the movie; the Vogon homeworld is covered in paddles that fly up and whack you in the face whenever you have an idea.
    • Now, the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax — they were about as evil as one could get in Hitchhiker.
      "... That was just the name of their race. The name of their army was something quite horrific."
  • Subverted and/or deconstructed repeatedly in Animorphs:
    • The Yeerks are built up as a monolithically evil species who enslave other races because they're dicks. However, we later learn that Yeerks without hosts are almost blind and deaf, and can only swim about feebly in small pools; thus, the fact that they possess other species is understandable, if not commendable. Later still, we encounter Yeerks who do not agree with enslaving other species and either enter a voluntary commensal relationship, or live out their lives in Yeerk Pools. Even later, we find out that the Iskoort, which consist of the 'isk' and the 'yoort' (the later of which is basically a yeerk) generate artificial "isk" bodies to live in which have no minds of their own...and have genetically altered the yoorts to only be able to live inside an isk as a nod to playing nice with other sentient species.
    • Advertisement:
    • Taxxons are vicious, cannibalistic monsters who are constantly in the grip of an absolutely irresistible hunger, and who apparently voluntarily submitted themselves to Yeerk domination. However, they are also intelligent, and there is a group of rebels on their home world fighting against the Yeerks. Their vicious nature is a result of evolving on one of the harshest planets in the galaxy. In the end, they all morph into pythons and live out their lives as animals to escape the constant hunger. The reason they volunteered themselves for controllership was also an attempt to free themselves of the hunger. This didn't work.
    • The Howlers were a fascinating subversion. They were created by the God of Evil / Eldritch Abomination Crayak, and had spent at least thousands of years wiping out countless species across the galaxy for no apparent reason. Cassie, however, refused to believe they were Always Chaotic Evil if they were truly sentient. When Jake eventually morphs one and gets to experience its natural instincts, he finds out that their minds are closest to dolphins.note  They're childlike and playful, and honestly don't know that other species have sentience until the Animorphs infect their Hive Mind with their own memories. They have no concept of death or suffering, since any Howler who experiences pain or injury is destroyed before its personal memories can enter the Hive Mind. They basically think they're living in a giant game.
    • Advertisement:
    • The Hork-Bajir seem evil (they look like dinosaurs with knives growing all over them), but once we meet free Hork-Bajir, they turn out to be peaceful and good-natured. They didn't even have a concept of war before the Yeerks invaded their planet; when Dak Hamee first gets attacked by a Hork-Bajir-Controller, he cannot understand what's happening, since the thought of another Hork-Bajir purposefully hurting him had never occurred to him before. The blades growing from their bodies are for climbing and harvesting tree bark, their main food source. They were, in fact, genetically engineered by the natives of their homeworld to keep the world's decidedly fragile ecosystem stable by acting as a species of arboretum-keepers.
    • Surprisingly played straight with the Helmacrons, an entire race of Napoleons who run on Insane Troll Logic.
  • Second Apocalypse has the "weapon races," which were created by the Consult using Organic Technology and magic to exterminate humans and the Nonmen. All of them have a sexual lust for violence. The scranc are a hardy breed of dog-sized creatures who breed explosively and Zerg Rush relentlessly. Bashrags are three humanoid bodies twisted into a hideous ogre-creature. Skin-spies can imitate and impersonate people to act as spies and assassins. Wracu are essentially dragons.
  • The good witches of L. Frank Baum's Oz books were a subversion of witches as Always Chaotic Evil. Also, in The Film of the Book The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch's guards are expected to be the mook version of this trope, but once Dorothy defeats the Witch, the guards thank her and praise her. This doesn't happen in the book, as it was explicitly stated that the Wicked Witch had enslaved the Winkies (the people of Western Oz).
    • The Mangaboos play this straight, as they are violently xenophobic towards anyone who enters their territory, and have no problems with blaming and ordering the executions of children for natural disasters. It is implied that Princess Ozma had them all exterminated afterwards for their cruelty towards Dorothy.
  • Subverted in most of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Several races in his science fiction novels appear to be evil, but on closer inspection, it is usually revealed that they are evil because of some aspect of their culture rather than anything inherent.
    • The vicious nomadic Green Men in his John Carter of Mars series turn out to be violent and sadistic with Lack of Empathy because their culture disdains affection and families and actively punishes parents who try to treat their children lovingly or even find out who their children are (they lay eggs and randomly shuffle them before they hatch). It does make them fit the trope as a result; the unusual part is that they're, nevertheless, not simply antagonistic all the time. The Thark nation often helps the good guys after it comes to be led by an individual who actually knows some personal affection, and because the other Tharks aren't too picky about their causes if it involves fighting under someone badass enough.
    • The cannibal men of U-Gor in the seventh Martian novel turned to cannibalism out of desperation because their President Evil enforced policies that led to starvation.
    • The hideous Coripies from the Pellucidar novels are antisocial and violent because they kill women who have a lot of children to control their population, making women hate their children, and men avoid sexual relations with any woman they like.
    • The Mahar of Pellucidar seem to be evil at first, but turn out to have a sense of justice and honor. Also, the Mahar don't know humans are anything other than animals, since they are deaf and communicate through telepathy, and thus can't hear human speech. (Admittedly, missing human tool-using and technology, even of a Paleolithic culture like most of Pellucidar, seems pretty Too Dumb to Live for a species which is supposed to be at least as smart as humans, probably smarter...)
    • The Wieroo in the Caspak trilogy come a little closer, in that we're never explicitly told why they developed their sadistic religion. But when you discover that your entire race is doomed because you can't produce fertile women... except that you can reproduce with normal humans... who unfortunately consider you hideous monsters, and thus will never willingly sleep with you... well, it's still awful, but unsurprising that something had to give.
  • The countries and, thus, races in The Belgariad are dramatically stereotyped: the Drasnians are sneaky Chaotic Neutrals or Chaotic Goods, while the Arends are all brash to the point of stupidity and definitely belong somewhere in a pseudo-medieval hierarchy. The bad guys are split into a number of groups, but can all be described simply as "bad guys".
    • In the sequel series, the Malloreon, however, the author takes great pains to humanize at least some of the bad guys, usually by adding them to the protagonist's adventuring party. At that point, the Angarak nations get more distinguished by their individual hats than the fact that they're evil.
    • The author handwaves this by having the "races" be the product of selection by the gods: Chaldan, god of the Arends, values courage over brains. So when he got to select his chosen people, he picked accordingly, and things got predictably out of hand from there. Likewise, the Angaraks were bad guys in large part because they were driven to it by a bad god who wasn't pushing them in the sequel, being dead.
      • The author also justifies this in the Belgariad by stating that the three "bad guy" countries are controlled by a rigid and invasive religious hierarchy of the cruel god. This means that, for the Belgariad, all the antagonists are products of a chaotic evil society. The most "liberal" of the three is still populated by people who fear the priest caste. The fourth "bad guy" country is governed by a more cosmopolitan and urbane group, and, thus, is less chaotic.
    • The Nadraks and Thulls are never really presented as evil. The Nadraks tend to be more closely aligned with the Drasnians than their fellow Angaraks, and the Thulls are straight up victims of Angarak society and will quite happily surrender to any western force that happens by just to get away from the Grolims.
  • The dark elves (a.k.a. moredhel, a.k.a. Brotherhood of the Dark Path) from Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia series are presented as ruthless, murderous, and unscrupulous. In an interesting twist, they are of the same blood as the eledhel, the High Elves of the series. It's explained that their differences are solely cultural, and that their cruel tendencies are mostly due to the lingering influence of their former dragon rider masters, the destructive Valheru. They're shown to have grey areas, and have Proud Warrior Race Guy and Noble Demon tendencies. Occasionally, a moredhel will leave his or her people and join the eledhel, after which, he or she is considered an eledhel.
    • The Pantathians are snake-people who are described and shown to be alien and destructive in their very natures, with no chance of redemption (even a Pantathian that's hatched from its egg minutes earlier will attack any non-Pantathian on sight). But they're justified by having been created by an evil mistress as minions.
    • The various extradimensional creatures, such as the demons and the Dread, neither of which have ever been shown doing anything besides trying to destroy the world and devour all life. They're too alien to life on our plane to coexist peacefully with it.
    • The Dasati in the Darkwar subseries are introduced as Always Chaotic Evil, to the point that their society hunts down and kills their own pregnant women and children to ensure that only the strongest will survive their attacks, and there are no doctors or healers. However, we quickly learn that there is a secret society known as the White that is working to reform their culture, and they are not irredeemably evil.
    • The one race in the Riftwar-verse that is utterly and irredeemably evil is the Valheru, a.k.a. The Dragon Lords. Beings of nigh-godlike power, who ride dragons throughout the multiverse, looting whatever worlds capture their fancy, and killing and eating all manner of other creatures, including each other. While not sadistic, the Valheru are power-hungry, completely immoral, and so powerful that they cannot be allowed to be free...well, anywhere.
      • Though the novels themselves point out that the Valheru aren't so much evil as they are other - they come from a time when good and evil were meaningless concepts, unlike the modern world after new gods arose, and as such, can't really be allowed free reign anywhere in it because they upset the balance of the universe just by doing what Valheru do (which is to say, whatever they please).
  • In the Redwall series, the species of a character alone will (almost) always tell you if they're good (mice, moles, shrews) or evil (rats, ferrets, stoats). Even one of the evil species who was raised in Redwall turns out bad, because it's apparently In the Blood. Cats seem to be the only species to avoid this, as there are examples of good and evil cats in the series.
    • Veil in The Outcast of Redwall turns good at the end of the book. However, he dies from it. Bryony's theory is that he turned bad precisely because it was expected of him; he was always accused of theft when something went missing and generally treated like a bomb about to go off by the rest of the Abbey dwellers, so he started living up to their expectations out of spite. Oddly, at the end she decides he was evil all along, even after he'd saved her life.
    • Then there's Blaggut from The Bellmaker, the only vermin who isn't evil from the moment of his entrance. He's a decent guy who gets manipulated by his traditionally-evil captain. Eventually, he strangles the captain to death for having murdered the abbey's Badger Mother, and then leaves Redwall out of guilt. It's established that he pays it regular visits afterward, and the Dibbuns are very fond of him.
    • And Romsca, though she doesn't last very long either.
    • The biggest exception to this rule is at the end of Marlfox, when almost all of the rats under the Marlfoxes' control do a Heel–Face Turn and become peaceful.
    • Brian Jacques, the author of the Redwall series, has explained on his website that most of his animal creations are based on the mythological interpretations of the animals — wolves and foxes are sly and clever creatures, badgers are noble and proud, and birds such as sparrows are based on the author's personal observations of sparrows in his back yard (note that the sparrows aren't truly evil-only one of their kings). He also stated a dislike of moral ambiquity in his work: "Goodies are good, and baddies are bad" as he put it.
    • Parodied by Something Awful.note 
    • On the other side, there were only a few evil examples from the good species-a couple voles, and one shrew.
  • The various Shadowspawn from The Wheel of Time are a case of the "artificially created to be evil" variety, being genetically engineered to be the Dark One's slaves. With different kinds of Shadowspawn, we see different variations on this trope.
    • Trollocs and Draghkar are exceptionally violent, bloodthirsty animals who are too stupid to know what they're doing is wrong.
    • The gholam has human intelligence but is a straightforward living weapon and quite proud of that fact. However, he takes a dispassionate view of his purpose, and is not usually malicious, being more like a Punch-Clock Villain: he was created to be an assassin, so he assassinates. Also, he needs to drink fresh human blood to survive. As he puts it, "Fish must swim, birds must fly, I must kill."
    • The Myrddraal, though, are definitely the creepiest - the commanders of the Shadowspawn, they are absolutely emotionless and driven to conquer the world for the Dark One. They derive no pleasure from anything except inflicting pain (and they don't show it - the fact that they go out of their way to do it in the first place is the only indicator that they like it) and have a heavily implied fetish for raping human women, which almost always drives the victim insane (why they do that is probably best left unknown). It's very telling that the Dark One himself uses a modified Myrddraal, Shaidar Haran, as his mouthpiece.
  • Cthulhu Mythos:
    • "The Shadow Over Innsmouth": Have you ever seen a Deep One that wasn't evil or Cthulhu-allied, even in Mythos works not written by H. P. Lovecraft? (OK, there was one in The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross and another in The Trail of Cthulhu by August Derleth.)
    • Neil Gaiman played with this in his short story A Study in Emerald. However, it does acknowledge the evil-alignment at the end, when it is implied that the detective-hero is not actually Sherlock Holmes, but his antagonist, who is working against the evil he perceives in the Great Old Ones, is. Considering that it's blatantly stated that the Old Ones eat people, and that the peace they brought to the Earth is one of terror and subjugation, I'd say he's not playing with it that much.
    • It doesn't help that Lovecraft treats actual human "races" in a very similar manner (read the descriptions of the cultists in "The Call of Cthulhu" for a fine example), besides creating several inbred communities in rural America and the infamous fishmen of Innsmouth, who stand out as an ugly, racist metaphor concerning immigrants. The entire basis of Lovecraft's horror is set firmly upon the idea that anything alien or different is terrifyingly evil and he was apparently rather open about his xenophobia, even going so far as to tell his Jewish wife that he thought mixed marriages were a bad idea. To be fair, Lovecraft also had no trouble in writing about degenerate, barbaric white people, and did it with far greater frequency than writing against black people. As might be obvious from the above mention, Lovecraft also wasn't antisemitic, which was more than could be said for many racists in his time.
    • His racism aside, the Always Chaotic Evil nature of the beings in the Lovecraft mythos was because their psychology and morality were normal to them, but completely alien to humans.
    • Averted in the case of the Elder Things in At the Mountains of Madness. The narrator even praises their determination:
    "poor Lake, poor Gedney... and poor Old Ones! Scientists to the last - what had they done that we would not have done in their place? God, what intelligence and persistence! What a facing of the incredible, just as those carven kinsmen and forbears had faced things only a little less incredible! Radiates, vegetables, monstrosities, star spawn - whatever they had been, they were men!"
    • Also averted for the Great Race of the Yith in "The Shadow Out of Time". What at first seems a rather straightforwardly, almost supernaturally evil plan, stealing the bodies of mankind as hosts for a race of time-traveling aliens, actually becomes rather sympathetic over the course of the story. The Yith aren't really aggressive so much as they're desperate to preserve the galactic heritage of accumulated knowledge that they tend, and are using body-switching as a last resort to escape from actual mindlessly evil beings they're losing a war against. They give their inadvertent captive freedom to move around and are even nice enough to explain things to him so that he doesn't freak out... essentially because they're being nice, as if they'd left him an incoherent broken-down wreck it would have concealed their activities completely. They're still planning to displace humanity, they just have a very reasonable attitude and aren't actively malicious about it, and kinda feel for us.
  • Subverted in China Miéville's The Scar. The Grindylows are set up like this, but it is revealed that they are merely zealous defenders of hearth and home. A throwaway line in the next novel, Iron Council, reveals that they have become allies of New Crobuzon against Tesh.
  • The Mijaki in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy that had to be contained with their own land so they wouldn't overrun the world, which they do.
  • The Alesians of A Harvest of War are humans but they still seem to embrace this trope, being clearly the most vicious Thyll Mooks. They are infamous for their banditry and even some of their allies are disgusted by them.
  • The Dead in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy. They were originally humans, but have been reanimated. They'll suck the Life out of anything even if they aren't allied under a necromancer. Being an animated, twisted sin against the cosmic order will do that to ya.
    • Specifically, the Dead NEED to kill living beings in order to remain active. This is well known among citizens of the Old Kingdom, so anyone who isn't evil chooses to walk past the Ninth Gate
  • The Urgals from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle seem to be this. Apparently, they've hated humanity from the get-go (and vice-versa), and when Galbatorix tries to convince his subjects that the Urgals weren't actually evil, just misunderstood, absolutely no one believes him. The Urgals are presented as primitive, monstrous creatures that have no issues with killing and will do anything to get what they want, which seems to be death to all the other races.
    • Subverted later in the series, when we learn that Urgals have organized society and were misled by Galbatorix; they start helping the Varden after they realize what a screwup the whole arrangement was. After the war with Galbatorix ends Eragon attempts to help bring peace by setting up an Olympics style tournament the Urgals hold every year to satisfy their competitive nature. Their leaders have doubts about how well it'll work until Eragon reveals he also plans to cast a spell that will let Urgals (as well as Dwarves) become Dragon Riders.
    • The Ra'zac are this trope played straight. Their primary prey are humans for a large part of their life-cycle, including the ability to paralyze them (an ability which doesn't work on Dwarves or Elves) meaning they are basically automatically at odds. The members species we see are straight-up evil but that's only about four total, as Humans previously launched a highly successful and more or less Guilt-Free Extermination War with the help of the Dragon Riders.
  • The Posleen from John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata series at first seem to be this - they are a voracious Horde of Alien Locusts that loot worlds and eat the inhabitants. However, it is later revealed that they are genetically engineered Super Soldiers created by a long-gone alien race, and are merely following their programming. Individual Posleen even show some level of nobility when they are viewpoint characters. Michael O'Neal, Jr even comments that he does not hate the Posleen, but if he ever runs into their creators, he'll really hate them.
  • R.A. Salvatore plays with this trope in his Forgotten Realms books. Denizens of the Abyssal planes fit the trope; drow mostly stay true, with one very notable exception (and a small group of Chaotic Good drow that end up dead); orcs were monolithically portrayed as such until Obould showed up and started civilizin' the lot.
  • The Koloss in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, explained in the third book by appropriately horrific sorts of mutation and mind control. Played with in the form of Kelsier, the Legendary Hero Whose Name The Masses Whisper In The Iron Grip Of The Evil Emperor, who thinks of everyone on the opposing side as Agents Of The Darkest Evil Who Must Be Purged. Most of his crew, while on board with the whole rebellion thing, are deeply unnerved.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories have evil creatures mutated from natural ones by Dark Lord Morgoth: Orcs, Trolls, Dragons, Werewolves, Wargs, etc. However, as a devout Catholic who believed in spiritual salvation, the idea of a race of inherently or irredeemably evil creatures was one of Tolkien's major sticking points with his own work. He spent much of the latter part of his life as a writer trying to justify it. He never did come up with an explanation that satisfied him.
    • Orcs: In The Silmarillion, the Elves theorize that Orcs were Elves tortured and corrupted by Morgoth, and in The Lord of the Rings Treebeard voices a similar theory about Trolls being bred as a mockery of Ents. Both of these are beliefs of characters, which are never directly confirmed by the author. Another idea was that Orcs are generally just Human tribes and are "evil" precisely because of Sauron and Morgoth's magic. After the One Ring is destroyed, they become feral and scatter in all directions.

      These later explanations of Orcs can be seen as an exploration of institutionalized abuse and slavery. While they may be a "species" genetically distinct from their Elf and/or Human ancestors, their evil cultures resulted from millennia of slavery, Religion of Evil, and deliberate corruption. They are less inherently evil than a race that's been warped by external forces into cannon fodder. Tolkien even wrote "deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master (Morgoth) whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery."

      Perhaps the most tragic and frightening thing about Orcs and Trolls is that we can never know what they would be like if Morgoth and Sauron hadn't ruined them, or if any of them were able to grow up in a less cruel culture. They're never given the opportunity to be anything but evil. They're raised in cultures that encourage hoarding and greed and hatred, and the differences between them incite the violent tendencies bred into them by the Dark Lords. In an Orc society, cooperation would reduce your own chance of survival in a dangerous situation (i.e. leave your partner to the wolves and escape on your own). Sauron's propaganda also convinced them that their enemies, particularly Elves, were even crueler than Orcs, to discourage them from ever surrendering in battle. It's worth noting that the Forces of Light are essentially waging an extermination war against the Orcs and likely wouldn't know what to do with any that actually surrendered peacefully.

      In one letter, Tolkien points out that some Orcs display courage and tribal loyalty if nothing else, and that they wouldn't have been able to function as well if they were completely evil. And he was generally quite good at giving individual Orcs distinct personalities. (This is touched on in the animated version of The Return of the King, where some orcs sing that they don't want to go to war but their officers and Sauron tell them to.)
    • Trolls: Aside from Treebeard's theory above, Tolkien suggested that Trolls were artificially created from stones. Yet in The Hobbit, William the Troll has mercy on Bilbo and insists that the other Trolls let him go. William "had already had as much supper as he could hold; also he had had lots of beer." The other Trolls also seem reasonable, but are concerned that there may be other 'burrahobbits' in the woods and don't want to be attacked in their sleep.
    • Wolves: Taking his cue from mythologies in which wolves are always evil, the Wargs are giant intelligent wolves with the malevolence to match. The only mention of normal, non-evil wolves is in The Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf mentions that natural wolves would only attack people out of hunger.
    • In the case of Dragons and Werewolves, both were specifically created to be evil by Morgoth himself, and it's stated that the latter were inhabited by the spirits of dreadful beings (ranging from fallen Maiar to Orcs).
    • For their part, the Giant Spiders are the descendants of the evil spider demon Ungoliant (who's either a fallen Maia or some other form of Eldritch Abomination) and have all inherited their progenitor's vileness.
    • Humans: The Easterlings, Haradrim, and other so-called "evil Men" are not treated as inherently evil. In fact, it is implied that they only serve Morgoth and Sauron because of lies and promises made to them (and never kept), or just their fear of the Dark Lords. For example, in The Two Towers, the Dunlendings are amazed when, after being captured by the Men of Rohan, they are freed by their captors, having been told the Rohirrim burned prisoners alive. In the First Age, the biblical Original Sin took the form of the first Humans worshipping Morgoth out of ignorance when he went into the East. The evil Men come from cultures which never rebelled against Morgoth, whereas the good Men (including some Easterlings in The Silmarillion) rebelled and fled to the western end of Middle-earth. Later writings from Tolkien also mention that the last two Wizards successfully jump-started rebellions against Sauron in the homelands of the Haradrim and Easterlings, which explains what the good-aligned ones were doing during the events of The Lord of the Rings.

      In addition, many of the "evil" Humans of Middle-earth had legitimately suffered abuse by the Númenóreans in the late Second Age, who ruled over them as tyrants, taxed them heavily, often enslaved them and destroyed their livelihoods (e.g., by clear-cutting their forest homes), and abducted them for Human Sacrifice. Between that and Sauron's various propaganda and lies, the Easterlings and Haradrim continue to believe that the Númenóreans' Gondorian descendants and their allies are evil and cruel. In truth, the Men of Gondor are actually the descendants of the Númenóreans who opposed all of this.
    • Originally, Tolkien intended the Dwarves as this, but while writing The Hobbit decided to make the Dwarves one of the "good" races.
    • Interestingly, The Silmarillion notes that during the Siege of Barad-dûr, "All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-Galad. Of the Dwarves few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron". This implies that at least a few Orcs, Trolls, etc. fought for the good guys, or at least against Sauron. That said, the passage would also imply that at least a few Eagles and Ents fought for Sauron, which seems rather unlikely considering that those races have an absolute hatred of the forces of darkness, and some readers consider it to be a case of Unreliable Narrator as The Silmarillion was supposedly written by the Elves. Which could mean that even the Eldar were divided in those days.
    • For their part, the makers of the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy were concerned that the idea of a race being evil by definition seemed racist, claiming that in Tolkien's time, people didn't mind such stuff. Hence, the added scene where Uruk-Hai are created from the earth in Saruman's dungeons. This is not mentioned in the original books, but was one of the author's earliest ideas for their origins, as an attempt at the "artificial origin" justification. Tolkien later believed that evil cannot create new life, so the Orcs and other monsters must be bred and corrupted from natural people and animals. The Orcs of Mordor, Moria and beyond are implied to be breeding the old fashioned way, leaving Uruks as the only artificially created race in the setting.
  • The "Trolls" in The Apocalypse Troll by David Weber. Though only one is technically featured, the rest are described as just as psychopathic, manipulative, and omnicidal. They're like robots, but with the apparent ability to choose not to kill everything in their path — they just choose to do so, most of the time.

    Unfortunately, they're not actual robots. They're human brains, often cloned when "fresh" ones are unavailable — and guess how they get the fresh ones — which are then tortured horribly to the point where all they want to do is kill everything in revenge for being made into what they now are. Given the choice, which they do not have, they'd turn on their masters in a heartbeat. Then go back to killing humans because it's "fun". Their creators, nicknamed the Kangas (and guess what they look like), are psychopathically xenophobic because of their religion that states that anything appearing as a non-Kanga is the Devil in another disguise.
  • Defied in DragonFire; one of Leetu Bends' contacts is a bisonbeck Reverse Mole, who has done a Heel–Face Turn.
  • It's perhaps inevitable that the Star Wars Expanded Universe be chockfull of alien species whose cultures cling closely to the stereotype of Planet of Hats, especially when they play minor or relatively minor roles - and all too often, the particular stereotype is that they're all criminals, barbarians, or savage warriors. The writers do try to justify this by often giving the species a plausible Freudian Excuse: they're ignorant (such as the Noghri, who serve the Empire because they're superstitious primitives and don't know any better), it's part of their culture (the Rodians had to become ruthless bounty hunters to survive the predators on their homeworld), or they're just horribly misguided (the Trandoshans, whose goddess they worship promises to reward them in the afterlife for committing murders and certain other atrocities). A particularly tragic case were the ancient Sith, who suffered from a genetic mutation that predisposed them toward the Dark Side of the Force. But there's no justification for the vile Hutts: while their extreme arrogance can be chalked up to their mythical beliefs (according to their mythology, they are literally gods), nothing could ever excuse their incredible sexual perversity and cruelty, even to the point that the suffering of other creatures is their primary form of entertainment.
  • The Yuuzhan Vong are initially introduced as being pure evil down to the last warrior, but it turns out that they're caught up in the stranglehold of a Religion of Evil that is manipulated by their insane leadership. Over the course of the later books, we're introduced to Yuuzhan Vong who are more human, for lack of a better word, and in the end, a lot of them wind up doing a Heel–Face Turn or committing suicide when they find out that the gods they were fighting for were either horribly misinterpreted or (in one case) didn't exist at all.

    Being Scary Dogmatic Aliens is a cultural thing (due to living under a Religion of Evil for millennia). There's nothing in the Yuuzhan Vong's genetic makeup that causes them to be evil, and several of them are given sympathetic POVs later in the series (Nen Yim, Harrar, Vua Rapuung — even Nom Anor to an extent). Jacen explicitly says they're no better or worse than humans would be under the same situation.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, ShadowClan is always branded as this by everyone (particularly ThunderClan). Despite the fact that the only ShadowClan cats who were ever truly evil were Brokenstar and Clawface.
    • The more recent books have subverted this with ShadowClan being nothing more than a rival Clan, and most opposition come from WindClan instead.
    • Also subverted with Bluestar's Prophecy, where ThunderClan faces the most opposition from RiverClan, and never had to deal with ShadowClan. It seems that different Clans end up being seen as "evil" depending on the political atmosphere (ThunderClan was actually branded as evil for a while early in Bluestar's Prophecy after their unprovoked raid on WindClan camp).
    • The cats tend to see humans (or twolegs, in the language of the clans) like this. After all, some people bulldozed the entire forest the cats lived in, forcing the cats to find a new home. Some humans run over the cats with their cars (or monsters) and injure the cats badly or even kill them!
  • Played straight in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant with the Cavewights (though it is established that they weren't always evil), and subverted with the ur-viles. Despite their name, the latter are less evil than they are alien and inscrutable, and are allied with the Big Bad only to advance their own ends. In the second and third series, they apparently decide that helping the heroes advances their ends better. Unfortunately, as they either can't or won't speak English, we're not entirely sure what those ends are...
  • There are probably more examples in Perry Rhodan than anyone would care to mention here, but just in the newest arc (which started only a few weeks ago) there is a race of Big Bads (who can't really die) who have genetically grown really bad mooks at their disposal, in almost unlimited quantities.
  • The Grik in Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series, although "Always Lawful Evil" would be more accurate, and in the third book, the Alliance meets a member of a different but related species that's not evil. Further, in the fourth book, the Alliance finds some Grik who, possibly as a result of being cut off from their army for several months, are willing to surrender and give peace a chance. Grik are berserkers, more or less; they don't surrender. But these do.
  • Although they don't go 'round cackling about it (much), the Melnibonean culture in Michael Moorcock's Elric series is evil by definition. Torture, slavery, betrayal, cruelty, sadism, and ruthlessness are prized traits in their "civilization." Essentially, the decaying race of Melnibone is a decadent form of evil elves. Elric is by far the best of them, and he is a Grade-A Anti-Hero who betrays his kingdom because even he feels that Melnibone as a whole just needs killin'.
    • One story set before Elric turned on his people does show a couple of Melniboneans who weren't dyed-in-the-wool monsters, but even so weren't what we would call "good" either. Essentially, Melniboneans were a race of sociopaths, all literally born without a conscience. The "nice" ones weren't particularly moral, they just weren't interested in sadism and brutality, in much the same way that a human might be disinterested in sports. Elric himself had a vague understanding of good and evil, but only on an intellectual level after years of study.
    • Melniboneans are, in fact, the inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons' dark elves, which clarifies a few things.
  • The Others from A Song of Ice and Fire, from what little we've seen of them, appear to be about nothing more or less than the extermination of all living things. Word of God has hinted that their motivations, when revealed, will be at least somewhat more nuanced than simple For the Evulz.
  • Subverted with the Dark Court of The Fair Folk in Wicked Lovely. They often seem to be Always Chaotic Evil, but as we learn more about them, it is increasingly revealed that this is not the case. They aren't evil, just cruel. They have to be, since they feed off the darker emotions (rage, lust, fear, pain, etc).
    "We are what we are, Niall. Neither as good nor as evil as others paint us." ~ Irial.
  • Discworld has the Fairies, most of which are Always Chaotic Evil, although Nac Mac Feegle are more Always Chaotic Neutral. And the Auditors, who are Always Lawful Evil (from humanity's point of view) except, eventually, for Myria LeJean. And the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions, which are beyond human morality, and often too stupid to understand it. And Demons, who are evil. Every other race, however, subverts this by being stereotyped as vicious monsters by humans but actually being mostly quite nice.
    • Played with in Unseen Academicals. Mr. Nutt learns that he is not a goblin as he has always believed; he is an orc, a race seen as this trope. He expects everyone to hate him, but the people of Ankh-Morpork are rather blase about it at this point, having dealt with and accepted (to varying degrees) trolls, vampires, zombies, and golems. "Mild interest" is the worst reaction he gets. In fact, it's the authorities (read Vetinari, Margolotta, Ridcully) that think once the truth gets out, both Nutt and the public will go insane from the knowledge, resulting in much violence from both sides. They end up really underestimating just how much weirdness the Ankh-Morpork public is used to (with most of the weirdness originating from the authorities themselves). The most interest Nutt gets is a fashion magazine article (everyone else is far more interested in the newest supermodel to hit town).It also plays with Tolkien's idea that orcs are grotesquely tortured and mutated elves; in this case, yes, except replace "elves" with humans, because nasty as elves are, there's no one for inventive cruelty quite like a human.
    • Overall, Pratchett likes playing with this trope. Elves are ACE because of the parasitic nature of their home universe: we never hear of a pureblooded elf settling on Discworld, but half-elves exist and are morally no different from humans. Orcs were bred to be ACE but have ceased to be so now that the power that created them no longer exists. Demons are evil because it's their job; not all of them seem to enjoy it, or to be evil when they don't have to be. Vampires have a predatory culture and a major corruption-of-power issue, but are still perfectly capable of rubbing along with other species. Noble dragons are brutal and merciless because that's how people imagine they are, but one is still horrified to learn that humans can be that way and claim it's good.
    • In the rare case when a genuinely evil villain appears in Discworld, it's usually either a human psychopath (Teatime, Carcer, Duchess Felmet) who plainly enjoys being one, or a product of human cruelty (Spider the Rat King).
    • The moul in Pratchett's The Carpet People are this but it was his first novel, written and published when he was seventeen who in the Author's Note at the beginning of the rewritten and reissued edition is stated as having very different ideas about what fantasy was all about than he does now. Even so they are the way they are because they've mistaken a natural (sort of; it's implied that The Fray is just a human vacuuming) phenomenon for a God of Destruction and think they're just obeying Its will.
  • In The Guardians, both the nosferatu and the demons are Always Chaotic Evil. Justified in that the demons are Fallen Angels who followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God, and the nosferatu are the angels who did not choose a side and were cast down to Earth.
  • From The Dresden Files:
    • All three kinds of vampires are regarded as this by the White Council, and the fact that they naturally prey on humans means it's largely accurate. Black Court vampires are straight-up killing machines, Red Court are vicious predators who can at least put on a veneer of humanity to manipulate their victims, but are ultimately dominated by blood-lust. White Court are minor deconstruction - they are essentially composed of a human and demon in symbiosis, and while the demon is an Always Chaotic Evil predator, the human is more or less just a person. Of course the demon still does have to be fed (although it can be done non-lethally in most situations), so White Court vampires who try to resist it are few and far between.
    • Ghouls are vicious, predatory creatures who tend to be the supernatural community's go-to Psychos for Hire.
    • Winter Court fairies aren't necessarily evil (Blue and Orange Morality is in full swing with all fairies) but they're uniformly harsh, unforgiving, and dangerous, even when they're legitimately trying to be helpful. Of course they're actually the good guys in the grand scheme of things, responsible for defending all existence from the Outsiders. Their harsh nature is explained as a necessity to survive their ongoing war.
    • Demons are a pretty straight example, as are Fallen Angels (though in this case, they're Fallen because they're evil, not the other way around).
  • In Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, this is played straight at first and averted later. The Canim and Icemen are considered mindless killing machine races by the Alerans, and their Relationship with the Marat is only slightly better. Until, of course, Tavi (and Isana) gets to know them and understand the differences between their cultures that lead to wars. The Vord play this straight, being essentially a Horde of Alien Locusts. The Queens are the only actually sapient members of the species, controlling the other members in the process of destroying all other life.
  • Justified in John Ringo's Council Wars series. The Changed who make up the majority of New Destiny's military forces may be innocent victims, but thanks to the engineering of Mad Scientist Celine Reinshafen, they're evil, raping, pillaging, killing machines to the core. When they aren't just Dumb Muscle, who are also evil.
  • Chronicles of the Emerged World: Played with with the Fammin. They were created by the resident Big Bad Aster as his faithful and ruthless soldiers, and are at first presented as a typical evil-by-default, barbaric and sadistic species of orc stand-ins with no culture or interests beyond warring and killing people and who can be massacred with no moral compunctions, but there are some members called the "Wrong Ones" who have feelings and free will, but are forced to obey orders as their names are magical spells. When Nihal realizes this, and that the hordes of fammin she gleefully cut down over the course of the war were most likely innocent beings with no control over their actions... she doesn't take it well. After Aster's death, the Fammin were so used to living under the Tyrant's constant control that they lose all drive to do... anything at first, and so the free people decide to let them live in peace.
  • Trolls and Goblins in Shadow Keep. Averted by the Lawful Neutral Zhiss'ta.
  • The title race in S.M. Stirlings Shadowspawn series, except for Adrian, the Defector from Decadence, although since Adrian is that way from having been kidnapped and raised by a human, it's implied there might be hope for others, which is why he kidnaps his children in the second book from his sister, their mother.
  • Trolls in Liavek are said to be this. It's hard to be sure, since only one troll is shown. He fits, but since we never see another one...
  • Ewu are treated this way in Who Fears Death, because they are the product of violence, they are expected to become violent in their future.
  • In The Berenstain Bears cartoon and spin-off Bear Scouts series, the weasels, led by Weasel McGreed are depicted this way, in a contrast to the bears' more nuanced, flawed-but-well-meaning society. Every weasel character encountered by the protagonists is evil, with no exceptions.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, certain races, such as Ogres, Hags, and Minotaurs, are always evil. In Prince Caspian, Caspian and his followers immediately reject the idea of recruiting the few surviving Werewolves and Hags for their army, even though they have a common enemy. Some animals are also portrayed as evil, wolves seemingly one of them, until it's mentioned that some are in Aslan's army. Partially averted in the second and third films, in which the Minotaurs have undergone a hoof-face turn.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker series, the oni. Their chief characteristic is a total Lack of Empathy. They do not exterminate other races, though — they use them for breeding stock.
  • The Weavers from The Braided Path. This is a group who, after Weaving, lose themselves to a post-Weaving mania that can be satisfied in a variety of ways including painting or singing, but more often than not takes the form of rape, necrophilia, coprophagy, torture, cannibalism and any number of other depravities that they no longer have the conscience to inhibit. This is in addition to their overall goal of transforming the world into a barren, volcanic, mortal aspect of a god of destruction who wants to kill all the other gods and conquer existence.
  • Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: The shadows attack humans and cause destruction without reason or provocation. The ending, though, implies that some are sentient and may have some sort of Evil Plan beyond mindless killing.
  • Dementors from Harry Potter. This is a race that cares for nothing except sucking up human happiness. The only way to get them on your side is to give them a bunch of human souls to suck on. Even if you can do that, they'll turn on you the second someone else shows up with a better deal. To make it even scarier, they're apparently capable of breeding and immortal. This is an unusually justified example because they are supernatural forms of negative emotions given sapience more or less. This is averted, however, with some races which are normally given this treatment. For example, goblins are Lawful Neutral Loan Sharks, but they're not considered inherently evil.
  • In the InCryptid universe, the telepathic predators known as "cuckoos"; the Price family, whose entire deal is peaceful cohabitation with nonhumans, has a shoot-on-sight order for them. Every cuckoo is by human standards an insane sociopath, literally from birth; pregnant cuckoos spend nine months telepathically immersing the fetus in their worldview, and by the time the kid is born, the conditioning is in deep. The only known exceptions are a cuckoo with no receptive telepathy and the adoptive daughter she spent a great deal of time deprogramming.
  • The kif from the Chanur Novels have nothing resembling a conscience or sense of morality. Their entire society operates off of I Fight for the Strongest Side, and a résumé from a kif would be a rap sheet in any other civilization.
  • The Ix from The Last Dragon Chronicles.
    • Voss, well, he is possessed by the Ix.
  • The voidspren and fused from The Stormlight Archive are literally made out of hatred, and are apparently fragments of Odium, a former human (albeit an evil one), who is divine hatred separated from the virtues that give it context. The Voidbringers themselves, on the other hand, are a subversion. The parsh are a species who chose to side with Odium thousands of years ago because the humans (who the parsh had allowed to live on their planet as refugees after the humans destroyed their own world) were attacking the parsh. The modern Voidbringers are split between the normalparsh (referred to as singers), the Regals who are empowered by nonsentient voidspren, and the Fused, who are the souls of the original parsh who were betrayed by humanity, and now possess the bodies of contemporary parsh (killing the host in the process). The Fused have varying levels of sanity, but have a pretty understandable reason for hatting humanity. The Regals have their negative emotions boosted by their voidspren, twisting their minds into a state that Odium finds more useful, but the singers are just scared peasants who are remarkably similar to humans. It's made clear that many of the singers don't actually have any desire to fight despite their centuries of slavery (in fact, the Azish singers were successfully suing the government for back pay and damages, and the government was negotiating with them to make it happen), but the Fused and Odium aren't giving them much of a choice but to fight.
  • In The Underland Chronicles, most Underland rats and humans believe this about each other.
  • In Poul Anderson's Sargasso of Lost Starships, the aliens. Driven mad by the long dying of their world — they are vicious and sadistic — fortunately they also rely heavily on their psychic powers and do not, therefore, use tactics.
  • Goosebumps: The HorrorLand monsters, who run a deadly amusement park to kill families for fun. They may act welcoming and friendly at times, but don't let this fool you — it's an act. They'd serve you up for lunch as soon as amuse you. And their idea of "amusing people" is to scare them to death or put them in lethal traps.
  • The Kibmadine from A. E. van Vogt's short story The Silkie. Telepathic, shapeshifting literal sexual predators whose chief delight is changing the victims' terror into a longing to be eaten alive.
  • The Strigoi from Vampire Academy. They lose all sense of morality when awakened into their new existence. They are all indiscriminate killers, have no loyalty to fellow Strigoi even when allied, and have no appreciation for beauty.
  • The original Goldfinger novel is rather infamous for its portrayal of Koreans as this. The Big Bad exclusively employs Korean henchmen, who are thuggish brutes to the man. It's stated that all Koreans enjoy raping white women. The main Korean character, Oddjob, is frequently compared to an ape and can't speak, further dehumanizing him. Interestingly, in the movie, only Goldfinger is racist against Koreans (and even then, it's mostly about how they know nothing about golf). In the book, Bond and the narrator join in, clearly implying the reader should, as well.
  • In Doctor Sleep, ghosts are always evil because the people who choose to cling to the mortal world after death are the ones who know that a nasty afterlife awaits them as punishment for their crimes.
  • In the fairy tale Gorgo the Ogre, all Black Ogres are evil, twisted and malevolent, with their king being this up to eleven, so much that his own subjects are afraid of him.
  • The Epics in Brandon Sanderson's The Reckoners Trilogy are regular people who have been gifted with superpowers. A side effect of using those powers is to drive the user paranoid and violent, causing every single one to subjugate and oppress normal people, when not fighting each other for dominance.
  • Discussed in Shaman Blues with particular sub-type of spirits - apparently vultures have terrible reputation as being unreliable and downright harmful to people they're supposed to protect.
  • In the Rigante novels, the Vars mostly come off as murderous assholes bent on conquest with precious little depth to them.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: It's believed that people such as Mirabar, with red hair and/or golden eyes, are demons. However this turns out to be a lie spread by the water lords-it's actually a sign they're especially blessed by their goddess.
  • The trope plays straight with the demons in The Mortal Instruments. Most of them do not seem to be very intelligent, and they have nothing else in mind than humans to attack and eat. But some of them also have a human-like intelligence. But these are actually worse because they rape humans to witness warlocks. Clary once said that the demons can only destroy, and descend only about why humans because warlocks are the only thing they can create. However, the warlocks invert this trope. They are just as moral as humans.
  • Averted in The Edge Chronicles, where even the more aggressive and violent races like shrykes and flat-headed goblins have individual members who are shown to be good people or neutral civilians. The goblins in particular later in the series are shown to be largely miserable conscripts suffering under warmongering clan chiefs and the Proud Warrior Race Guys who enforce their rule. The conflict between the Free Glades and the Goblin Nations is ultimately resolved when the remaining goblin Mooks Heel–Face Turn en masse, choosing to turn against the clan chiefs and surrendering. The only sapient species that seems to be inherently evil is the gloamglozer, who is both an Eldritch Abomination and a Single Specimen Species.
  • The Crimson Shadow: The entire cyclopian people. We see don't see a single one that's anything but a bloodthirsty brute, though one solitary officer is a bit more refined in his tastes.
  • All vehicles become this in Stephen King's short story Trucks adapted later into the Maximum Overdrive movie.
  • In Villains by Necessity Valerie's underground-dwelling race of dark elves were regarded as this. As the plot of the book involves the forces of darkness being wiped out and heroic armies and warriors reigning supreme, their entire people wind up on the receiving end of genocide.
  • Zotl in A.A. Attanasio's The Last Legends of Earth are never shown with particularly noble or redeeming features - although to be fair, when your species literally feeds on the pain of other species, the ability to genuinely empathise with them would be something of a drawback.
  • Roald Dahl did it twice: once with the giants in The BFG (except the titular Big Friendly Giant), and again with the Witch Species in The Witches.
  • Subverted in Ender's Game - the buggers are presented as this until the end of the book.
  • In The Spirit Thief, demons and, by extension, demonseeds, are all more than happy to be destructive would-be devourers of the world, with the exception of Nico (who has Josef as her Morality Chain) and Nibel (who's too hard-headed).
  • The German SF series Maddrax has the hydrites. They are actually a peaceful and benign species, morally much more developed than humans. However, when they eat meat, they immediately become vicious and aggressive.
    • The taratzes were initially presented in this way, but you have seen again and again good taratzes. With them, it is more like a case of Mostly Chaotic Evil.
  • Villains by Necessity: Deconstructed with Valerie, whose entire race was wiped out for being "evil." While she at no point denies this, she also had loved ones and a family that were destroyed as a result, and is quick to point out that people's willingness to believe this trope meant it was okay for the heroes to commit genocide on them.
  • Almost all vampires in Necroscope. The vampires there arise because an alien parasite attacks and converts human bodies. And this parasite causes its host to get evil over time, even if particularly strong-willed people can resist it for a while, but not permanently.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report