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Everybody Hates Hades
aka: Everyone Hates Hades

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Left: Hades, from Classical Mythology.
Right: Hades, from Disney's Hercules.

"Oh, and you think I enjoy this? I'm sick and tired of always being the bad guy! What I do has to be done!"
Death, Family Guy

Death and the afterlife are scary. We fear death because we simply do not know what will happen to us once it inevitably comes a knockin'.

So, by default, anything associated with death can't be good, right? And since Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, a god who brings death must be an evil one, right?

Well, not always.

Many religions throughout history have produced deities who rule over and/or represent some aspect of death (or destruction) and are not portrayed as being malicious. They're not evil, they're just doing their job. Those dead souls won't collect themselves.

Of course, that doesn't stop some modern writers from looking upon these otherwise benign beings and seeing nothing but an easy villain for their mythology-based opus. After all, who cares about accuracy? Viewers Are Morons after all, and most people see death as something to loathe and fear anyway, so half the work is already done! And then there is the whole Satan analogue; cultural myopia leads some in Christian-dominated America to expect that Hades is just the Greek version of the devil, when actually he's more of a cross between Saint Peter and God.

It's also quite possible that they simply didn't know better. Or were limited by time constraints and had to do something with what they had on the fly.

To put it simply, this trope is invoked whenever an author takes an otherwise benign or at least neutral death-related deity and makes them evil for whatever reason.

A Sub-Trope of Sadly Mythtaken and Demonization, and a form of Adaptational Villainy. Compare with Satanic Archetype and Hijacked by Jesus, when the similarities with Christianity are painfully obvious. Contrast with Don't Fear the Reaper and Everybody Loves Zeus. See Historical Villain Upgrade for when this is applied to historical rather than mythological figures. See also The Theme Park Version and occasionally Mythology Upgrade.

Named after the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades, who is often a victim of this in modern times. Has nothing to do with the public reception of a certain action roguelike made by Supergiant Games.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Both Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and Shin Mazinger involve Greek Mythology, and Hades is the villain. In Shin, Mazinger Z Rocket Punches him in the face. Zeus does like-wise with his severed arm.
  • Dragon Ball: Gods of Destruction are feared by all mortals through the universes as impossibly strong forces of... Well, of destruction. However, they play a crucial role in the maintenance of the cosmos by making sure there aren't too many planets for the universe to sustain - and while they're usually haughty, bullyish, violent and capricious, they do not have an evil nature.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Hades is a major antagonist in the anime/manga series. He's portrayed as more mellow and melancholic than the likes of Poseidon or Ares, though — he seems to have become a villain because of his disappointment on mankind, whose sins just grow worse and whose respect and reverence for the gods is disappearing. That mythological bit about letting Orpheus and his beloved Eurydice go back to life just because he was touched by his music is present here.
    • He's the primary antagonist of the prequel, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas. Or so it seemed until near the end, when it was revealed that his human host was simply pretending to have been possessed, while Hades was really still in deep slumber inside of his soul; Hades does awaken and takes over after the host's ultimate defeat, though.
  • Astro Boy: Pluto, of every incarnation, including one where he's the title character.
  • Sailor Saturn from Sailor Moon, the warrior of death and destruction, was greatly feared by the other Outer Senshi and declared the evil Apocalypse Maiden. That is, until they learned her true and good nature of her powers and her duty as the warrior of death and rebirth; to sweep away the dead and broken so that life can grow anew.
  • The spider in Hell Girl is the ruler of Hell and the one who invented the Hell Correspondence, in which people sell their souls for revenge, as an Ironic Hell for Ai. Considering the setting, he's basically a stand-in for Enma. The show never goes into whether he's doing it out of malice or if it's just his job, though.
  • In-Universe in Kamigami no Asobi - the spirits of the dead curse Hades because they blame him for their suffering in the underworld, and misfortune follows him everywhere he goes. Played straight in some sense, but in a positive(-ish?), All Girls Want Bad Boys sort of way (since he is an option in the harem).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light does this with Anubis, who is not a malevolent god in Egyptian mythology. In the movie, he's the Big Bad who wants to destroy all life on Earth and rule over what remains. Although in this case, the villain is not actually the god himself, but a sorcerer of the same name.
  • Record of Ragnarok inverts this trope with their depiction of Hades. Instead of being depicted as more evil than his mythological depiction, this version seems to be much nicer than his myth counterpart. Hades, despite still being feared by the common god, is also the one they rely on the most, and often puts the needs of others above his, especially when it comes to protecting his brothers. This extends even to humanity, as he complimented his opponent Qin Shi Huang numerous times during their battle and stated that it was an honour to fight him, despite initially vowing to kill him to avenge Poseidon's death. Even in death, he apologizes to his family for failing in his duty as an elder brother.

  • The altar painting of the Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgement, has two examples.
    • The wise judge of the Greek Underworld, King Minos, sorted all of the dead, either into the blissful Elysium, the plain Fields of Asphodel, or the Fields of Punishment. In The Last Judgement, the king stands besides the fire of Hell as the damned are cast into it, while allowing a demonic snake to coil around his body and giving no implication of his role in judging those who enter Paradise.
    • Charon, who carried all the dead to the Greek afterlife, is shown beating a group of people off his boat into a horde of demons, who drag the people into Hell.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe:
    • This version of Hades is referred to by his Roman name of Pluto. Pluto has earned the enmity of both The Incredible Hercules and The Mighty Thor, and has been shown as trying to overthrow Zeus and seize control of the Greek pantheon for himself.
    • This is also the case of Hela, the Norse goddess of the dead (well, the dead who didn't die in heroic battle, anyway). Sometimes it is justified, as she on occasions took the role of a villain and tried to take over Valhalla, but it still doesn't justify the hatred she gets when she only tries to care for the souls under her charge.
    • Other Marvel characters subvert this. The Marvel universe contains the embodiment of Death, who is often depicted as True Neutral — she takes all life, good or bad (as she told Danielle Moonstar the Valkyrie, who said "you cause pain!" — "and end it."), though has ordered the deaths of billions just to take back the balance. There are also other "reapers" in the MU that aren't really evil, like Doorman from the Great Lakes Avengers. Also, in The Thanos Imperative, we see a dimension without Death (somehow, someone managed to kill her), and it's not pretty.
    • Black Panther's enemy Man-Ape is affiliated with Ghekre, which is in-universe an evil gorilla god associated with cannibalism and savagery. In the West African Mythology he is derived from, however, Ghekre is actually basically just a gorilla version of Anubis, judging souls in the afterlife. Hardly evil. Unfortunately, this meant he was replaced by Hanuman (a Hindu demi-god) in the movie.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in Wonder Woman.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): "King Pluto" was a villain in his first (1946) story, using kidnapped women to decorate his castle in the Underworld. He was manipulated by the Anti-Monitor during Crisis on Infinite Earths, but later reneged on their alliance at his wife's request. Post-Crisis generally stuck with the mythological portrayal of him as Dark Is Not Evil. (Like many gods, he also modernized, looking like a Victorian undertaker.)
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The George Pérez portrayal of Hades was a fairly benevolent (if rarely seen) Good Shepherd, but the aforementioned "Victorian undertaker" portrayal came from the (first) Greg Rucka run, and was at best a standard-issue Jerkass and at worst a full-blown God of Evil. Though, in something of a twist, he's not looking to usurp Zeus because Athena had already done that. Instead, he conspires with Poseidon to help Zeus get his throne back. It's pretty telling that when he gets killed and usurped by Ares (not quite Diana's Arch-Enemy at this point, but mostly on account of self-restraint), most of the cast considers it an improvement.
    • In the New 52's Wonder Woman (2011) Hades is presented as kind of a dick, but not outright evil because he doesn't seem to honestly understand how his actions affect others. It's suggested that no one can love him because he himself can't understand what love actually is. This may change after an encounter with Eros' guns (which serve the same purpose as his bow and arrows in the old days).
    • The New 52 Doctor Fate does a number on Anubis. Full on destroy the world goals, with the supposed aim of "restoring Maat."
  • In the Smite comics, Hades helps Loki kill Zeus.
  • Zig-zagged in the DC/Vertigo universe. In The Sandman (1989), Death is a pretty Perky Goth girl who is, out of all the Endless, generally the nicest and most friendly. Other DC personifications of Death play the trope straighter. The actual Hades does show up at one point, when Neil Gaiman retells the myth of Orpheus. He mostly follows the beats of the myth, but his mocking smile implies he knew Orpheus would fail the one condition that would let Eurydice be rescued.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Mortilus, the Transformer god of death, is almost always portrayed as a sadistic Blood Knight who betrayed the rest of the Guiding Hand and tried to conquer the universe. Followers of Mortilus are treated as basically devil worshipers. Subverted when we learn what really happened during the God War; Adaptus, god of change and innovation, was the one who started the conflict, while Mortilus was loyal to the end. When Adaptus fled Cybertron, he fired a memory-erasing weapon at the planet to cover his tracks; afterwards people remembered the Guiding Hand’s exploits, but not the specific details about them, so they simply assumed the big, scary-looking one associated with death was the bad one.

    Fan Works 
  • The Disney version of Hades is an unseen character in Bad Alert: The Extreme. Though still a villain, he is directly responsible for the deaths of four of the villains.
  • Divine Blood inverts this. Hades is the only good one of the big three of the Greek gods.
  • Subverted in Hope Springs Eternal, which has Hades undergo Character Development to shift him closer to his mythological self. The "abduction" of Persephone is entirely consensual and his biggest failing is difficulty properly managing the Underworld. That said, this trope is played straight by Hecate, if only because the author states that the story needed a villain.
  • Subverted in Incarnation of Legends. When the Valkyries' concert is attacked by terrorists working for the Night Queen, Odin remarks that it's time to send Hades a message, which initially sounds like he's going to be an antagonist like so many other darkness and death-associated gods in Evilus. The next chapter makes it clear that Hades is in fact an ally of Odin, sending two of his best adventurers to help Odin root out the source of this attack.
  • Hades in the JLA Watchtower universe was first class. Yes, the whole thing was an Evil Plan to get Athena off the throne of Olympus; he believed that, as he was eldest of Chronus and Rhea, he should have been in charge anyway. His tactics during the plan were appalling, however. Mind-wiping and seducing Omen? Blatantly cheating during the Titans' challenge of his heroes versus them? Forcing Nightwing into a fight to the death and making sure Nightwing lost?! Killing Arsenal after the Titans won despite the cheating, then sending in a Zombie Apocalypse as a last resort? Yeah, good thing he got his in the end...
  • In the crossover fic The Marvelous World of DC, this trope is played straight with Hades himself (the DC version), Pluto (the Marvel version, who is now his son), and Hela (his daughter), all three of whom are Lords of Chaos. However, it's also subverted by Death of the Endless from The Sandman (1989), who appears at the end of the story to hang out with her brother Dream, a.k.a. the Storyteller, and is depicted as her normal cheery, good-natured self.
  • In My Immortal, the "goffic" analogue of Sirius Black uses the nickname Hades. Much like all supposed "good guys", he is at best unsympathetic (plus his sadism). Given that the "goffs" are satanists, it implies that Hades is satanic. The fic is most likely a Stealth Parody of, among others, Dark Fics.
  • Subverted in Pony POV Series twofold:
    • Mortis, the God of Death, has the full name Mortis Thanatos Charon, making him named after two entities of death. However, Mortis is a nice guy, if a bit worn down from his position, and not evil in the slightest. The one time the world didn't actually need him, he was happy to take a vacation.
    • Havoc, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Tartarus, is an example of Good Is Not Nice, but ultimately benevolent. His only antagonistic actions were driven by the desire to protect his family, and he's generally rather polite when met by anyone not condemned to his realm. He merely serves as the Warden of Tartarus and tormentor of the wicked imprisoned there, and even allows good souls from Heaven to come try to redeem the fallen souls under his guard.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Hades is not only evil like the other Greek gods, but he's also depicted as demonic, with satanic horns, burning red skin, smoke breath and black flames on his hands. He's also said to be the greatest of the false gods of the Greeks, but he's defeated almost effortlessly by the Prayer Warriors once they pray to God. note 
  • Subverted in Princess of Themyscira. Hades shows up, but outright refuses to aid Ares in his plans, not even when offered a way to ensure he gets plenty of souls for his domain (stating that everyone ends up there eventually anyway). In fact, the only reason Ares gets any support from Tartarus is that Persephone tells him about the Alicorn Amulet's abilities, because she somehow thinks she's helping her husband out. As it turns out, she was helping — she was counting on Ares failing and ending up sealed in Tartarus at Hades' will, something he's been trying to get done for a long time.
  • In Showa & Vampire shortly before the series' cancellation, one of the heroes is given the Hades gun from Black Cat. He insists on giving it a new more positive-sounding name.
  • Averted in There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton, which uses the Percy Jackson and the Olympians version of Hades. Nico even notes that his father hates the Disney portrayal of himself for perpetuating this view of him.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Book of Life has two subversions:
    • La Muerte is unambiguously good.
    • Xibalba's a rather nasty death god but he's more petty and uncaring of humans than outright evil. He's quite capable of selfless love and admitting when he's been proven wrong.
  • Fantasia: Chernabog was a black god, but wasn't evil as a pre-christian slavic deity. Subverted as Walt said he was meant to be Satan anyway, just like he was demonized after the spread of Christianity. Though we don't really know enough about Chernobog to say whether he was or wasn't evil, it's certain he wasn't a giant Satanic figure who called up the spirits of the damned. Then again, Disney pulled the name Chernabog right out of their ass because the Satan figure in the film would have caused much controversy at the time. Disney may have gotten the idea from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, in which the "witch Ulrica" calls upon "Zernebock" to give the villains their comeuppance (she isn't very nice either).
  • Disney's done this trope waaaaaay back in the past: the 1934 Silly Symphony The Goddess of Spring is a retelling of the Persephone myth, and Hades looks like a proper Mephistophelean stage devil, with his realm basically being Hell, containing fire and imps. You can watch it here for now. Though while Hades visually looks like a Christian demon, his behavior is arguably much less evil. After seeing that there's no way for him to make Persephone happy, he releases her on the condition that she spends half of each year with him - which is in line with the myth.
  • Hercules casts Hades as the villain, probably the most well-known example of this trope. This portrayal, in addition to some of the other liberties taken with the myth, meant that the movie had to be marketed as Beyond the Myth of Heracles in Greece to avoid a national backlash, which... didn't exactly work. However, due to how funny and genuinely likeable Disney Hades is, you probably won't find any viewers (other than Greek Mythology buffs, of course) who hate Hades, except for being That One Boss in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Hercules (Pure Magic) averts this. Hades owns some bottles of nectar that happen to be poisonous to everyone except him, but he never even appears on screen, and the nectar is only used by Hera and King Eurystheus, presumably without his knowledge.
  • Legends of Valhalla: Thor. Here Hel is the big villainess. (Maybe the makers read the Marvel comic entry above?) A particularly embarrassing example, since it's an Icelandic film — basically, this trope has become so widespread that writers feel even the need to apply it to their own culture.
  • The Princess and the Frog has the evil Hollywood Voodoo doctor Facilier sell his soul to a group of evil spirits referred to as his "friends on the other side". No actual loa are named (and blasphemed), but it's far from a balanced portrayal of any voodoo entity, though it might count as a slightly exaggerated portrayal of petro ghede. On the other hand, they also have Mama Odie, a good voodoo priestess. She has a pet snake named Juju, which would be considered good in voodoo even as it defies the usual Reptiles Are Abhorrent rule of Disney films (twice even, as Louis the alligator is also unambiguously a good guy). And to be fair, the spirits with whom Facilier is affiliated are not portrayed as exactly evil outright, just very dark, and the reason why he suffers their wrath in the end was because he was unable to fulfill his end of the bargain with them.
  • Subverted in Wonder Woman (2009).
    • Hades looks like he's agreeing to free Ares so the restored god of war can kill, well, everyone, on Earth and provide Hades with their souls, but it turns out there's only one soul Hades is really interested in, revealed when his Evil Plan comes to fruition. His evilness is up for debate. Sure, he was a bit of a dick but he did put one of the worst psychopaths ever on a permanent lockdown and, well... Ares and his son deserved it.
    • Ares himself gets a case of this, just substitute "death" with "war". Back in ancient times, war was a necessity and was not really considered as "evil". Though accurate to the myths, as most Greeks (Spartans aside) had much nicer things to say about Hades than Ares, whom they considered at best terrifying.
  • In Legends of Valhalla: Thor, Hel is explicitly the Queen of the Norse Underworld and, unlike in myth, is an enemy of Asgard.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Drive Angry has an excellent subversion. There's a Satanist cult behind most of the film's events, and the Accountant encounters one of them left alive after the hero's rampage through their 'church.' The Accountant makes it clear that, from his personal interactions with Satan, he's a well-read and rather pleasant guy. He made a foolish mistake eons ago, and has spent the entire time since then stuck as the warden to the worst prison in the universe. And what really ticks him off is having to watch people on Earth commit atrocities and claim that he had a hand in them.
    • Additionally, the Accountant himself is heavily implied to be The Grim Reaper or something very much like it (with Nicolas Cage's character repeatedly comparing him to various death gods like Wotan and Anubis), and he comes across as fairly likable.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom states Kali to be "The Goddess Of Death" and shows her followers acting like Satanic cultists. The Hindu God Of Death is actually Yama, but Kali and her consort Shiva are also associated with death and change. Though she has violent qualities, particularly in her battle against Raktavija, Kali is considered a benevolent goddess by mainstream Hinduism. The villains of the film, however, are (very loosely) based on Thuggee cults, who did place Kali as their patron goddess.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Kali is the "the goddess of death" in one scene, though this may have been an example of the trope being played with, as Mina suggests that by worshiping a goddess of destruction (or, incorrectly, of death) that Nemo is untrustworthy and possibly evil. However, a Victorian educated woman would have had little understanding of Hindu deities, and the whole scene served to illustrate that the team misunderstood and distrusted each other. Ironically, Nemo's costume suggests he's a Sikh (as he was in the comic though not in the novel), and not a Hindu at all. It's a moot point in the end, since Nemo is unambiguously one of the protagonists and of a more heroic bent than he's depicted as in both the original comic and in 20,000 Leagues.
  • In Live and Let Die, one of Big Bad Dr. Kananga's main henchmen claims to be (and is heavily implied to actually be) Baron Samedi, the Voodoo Loa of the Dead; while he shares his mythological counterpart's festive fashion sense and energetic nature, this version of Samedi takes great pleasure in his acts of petty villainy — a far cry from the Life of the Party Nice Guy the Baron was in original myth.
  • Zig-zagged in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which threw out the book's original plot (which actually had Hades played right) and made Hades an antagonist; however, he is merely Chaotic Neutral and not the main villain. They even gave him the ability to turn into a huge demonic entity, complete with flames. He is also hilarious. Being played by Steve Coogan certainly helps.
  • The plot of the Clash of the Titans remake revolves around Perseus fighting against Hades to get his love back, contrary to the original myth or movie. To be fair, Hades isn't the only god with a Jerkass streak in the film, nor was he attempting to summon a "hell on earth" as the trailers suggested. Plus in the sequel he ends up doing a Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Mummy Returns: Anubis receives similar treatment, being responsible for providing a murderous army of jackal-headed warriors to the Scorpion King in exchange for his soul. Considering Anubis was a chiefly neutral deity whose main job was to guide and protect the dead, this seemed rather contrary to his purpose. This is made stranger by the fact that Anubis aided the heroes in the first first film by making Imhotep mortal when summoned. He actually does this again during The Mummy Returns when he evens the playing field for the final showdown. Seeing as the trilogy draws thematic inspiration from old pulp stories that used Egypt and its mythology as adventure fodder, it's possible that the mistake was a deliberate attempt to emulate the typical mistakes of those stories.
  • Child's Play: Charles Lee Ray invokes the power of Damballa to transfer his soul into the Good Guy doll. A less knowledgeable movie watcher might assume Damballa is a Dark God of Voodoo but Damballa is actually the Sky God of the Loa, Haitian Gods and the creator of life.
  • Final Destination: It's vague what exactly is going on, but Death sure does come out as a sadistic Slasher Movie-esque villain, who sends a premonition about an incoming catastrophe to one of the would-be victims so that they and a few others might escape with their lives, only to then pick them off in increasingly creative and violent ways.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Hela, the Asgard Goddess of Death and Odin's first child, is the movie's villain. She was key in Asgard's rise to glory, leading a brutal conquest of the Nine Realms which vastly enriched their kingdom. When Odin decided to reform the kingdom as benevolent rulers, Hela refused and tried to seize the throne resulting in many Asgardian deaths. Once freed from her prison, she intends to claim the throne and return Asgard to its, in her opinion, true glory. Hela does have moments that soften the negative portrayal. She's genuinely shocked Odin erased her name from history and remorseful on seeing what has become of her favored mount, Fenris.
  • In an unusual example of creators doing this to their own culture Yamato Takeru turns the Shinto moon god Tsukuyomi from an admittedly Jerkass God who killed a fellow deity because he felt squicked out into both an underworld god (a tenuous connection at best) and a Big Bad who wants to destroy the Earth out of sheer envy and spite. Though at the end Susano-o implies that Tsukuyomi will be a kinder deity the next time he returns. Apparently that's just how kami work.
  • In Shredder Orpheus, Hades and Persephone are portrayed as evil broadcast managers who brainwash and enslave the masses via their TV network, and the plot kicks off when Eurydice is killed to get her on their show.
  • Odysseus Voyage To The Underworld portrays Persephone as a wicked, power-hungry queen who was banished from the Underworld and sealed away by a magic cross; once freed, she plans to Take Over the World with her and Hades' children and Odysseus's.

  • The Fighting Fantasy universe has Death as the ultimate God of Evil, with his brothers Disease and Decay just a step behind him in power.

  • Neil Gaiman's American Gods:
    • Odin, aka Mr. Wednesday, who's a scheming bastard and one of the main villains. The epilogue insinuates that there are other, more benevolent aspects of Odin running around.
    • Czernobog is an inversion, depicted as a Boisterous Bruiser who is a little hardcore, but not that bad.
  • Inverted in Bone Song by John Meaney. The novel takes place in Tristopolis, a City Noir where death is an important element in culture: skulls are a popular decorative motif in architecture, and the citizens invoke the names of Thanatos and Hades in place of "God". Also, it is inhabited by undead creatures alongside with living humans, and the human protagonist falls in love with a beautiful zombie woman.
  • Oddly enough averted in The Canterbury Tales, where Pluto and Persephone are portrayed as King and Queen of the Fairies, and Pluto restores a man's sight so they can see their wife having an affair. However, there are hints he and Persephone's marriage is not entirely happy.
  • Chasing Shadows plays with this, as Yama in Hindu mythology is a benevolent death deity who presides over justice and was willing to give the mythological Savitri extra time with her husband when she tricked him. In Holly's visions, Kortha plays it straight as a twisted serpentine death god who never makes fair deals.
  • In Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain the Big Bad is Lord Arawn, whose goal is to take over the world. The books are based on Welsh mythology, in which Arawn isn't that bad a guy. However, Alexander does note this change in character in his introduction... he just decided to make Arawn the villain anyway.
    • Also worth discussing is Prydain's resident psychopomp, Gwyn the Hunter, who is portrayed as a truly impartial god of death.
  • Discworld:
    • In Mort when Death is testing out the pleasures of being human, he allows himself to get drunk at which point he starts drunkenly moping about how everyone hates him and he has no friends. Death is portrayed as being incredibly lonely.
    • Even in the first two books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), Death never really manages to seem outright evil. He's considerably less of a sympathetic character than he is in the later books, though.
    • Discworld's Death in general is a pretty nice guy, likes humanity, and is usually on the hero's side or one of the main heroes himself.note  He even convinced the other Horsemen to ride out for humanity instead of against it once.
    • Reaper Man (which sums up the attitude of the series in general with the quote "What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the reaper man?") gives us our old familiar buddy Death, and the new non-anthropomorphic Death that the Auditors prefer. The new Death plays the trope absolutely straight.
      • Interestingly, the New Death is pretty tightly allegorized with an early model of a combine harvester, giving the novel a fairly unusual Luddite feel, especially with shopping malls being anthropomorphized as literal parasites in the novel's parallel plot. Unusual for the Discworld, where progress towards a modern-looking world is generally taken as a neutral fact of life, with both benefits and drawbacks.
  • The Divine Comedy:
    • Dis, a Roman name of Hades, is used as a name for Satan, and the city of Lower Hell, with Hell taking imagery from Classical Underworld (though the Elysian Fields section still exists as the First Circle, where the virtuous Pagans aren't punished).
    • King Minos, the Classical Judge of the Underworld, is shown as a monstrous Judge of the Damned, with a serpentine tail he wraps around himself.
    • At the Fourth Circle of Hell, for Avarice, the God of Wealth Plutus appears, chanting out an apparent prayer to Satan. He may represent Pluto though. In the 1911 film he is referred to as Pluto and shown as a black devil with horns.
  • The Faerie Queene: Persephone gets an en passant mention as the "queen of hell", already fully Hijacked by Jesus.
  • Fengshen Yanyi subverts this: out of all the 365 new gods, the one who's tasked with managing the Eighteen Hells and deal with the reincarnation of souls is The Lancer Huang Feihu, one of the most heroic characters.
  • The last book of the Dreamland Chronicles trilogy subverts this; Hades is the only decent god. While the rest of the pantheons are preparing for an interfaith war, Hades is trying to get back his rightful throne from a usurper who has upset the balance of life and death. He deals fairly and honestly with the heroes to get their help.
  • The Dresden Files: Discussed in Skin Game when Harry Dresden comes face to face with the man(/god) himself. Dresden is terrified that he's about to be annihilated since he is, in strict terms, burgling Hades, but Hades makes the deliberate decision to invite him into his sanctum for a chat. They have a brief discussion about Hades's role in modern culture, and shift to noting that they're not so different, as Hades himself is a Consummate Professional and a decent guy, Cerberus turns out to be a Big Friendly Dog (not unlike Harry's own oversized pooch Mouse but with more heads). Persephone even willingly eloped with him rather than being kidnapped (Hades blames empty-nest syndrome on Demeter's part for the myth, with Hecate intentionally leading her on a wild goose chase to give the newlyweds a proper honeymoon). Harry notes that, Persephone notwithstanding, Hades was a guy who simply did the job he ended up with and that (unlike Zeus and Poseidon) there are no myths about Hades being unfaithful to his wife or messing with mortals just for the hell of it, although Hades does warn him not to badmouth the other gods too much, as they are family, after all. Oh, and he's in on Queen Mab's plot to ruin Nicodemus.
  • Everworld: Pretty much all gods are jerkasses, but probably the worst for sheer Nightmare Fuel is Hel, Norse goddess of the dead. She's half-beautiful woman, half-corpse, and delights in magically driving men insane with mixed lust and horror. Her realm is full of undead people suffering for her amusement.
  • Everybody Loves Large Chests: All the gods are a bit strange to modern views, but make more sense through a classical lens. The god of death is simply in charge of people who have died (and wealth) and has no interest in killing anyone. The god of craftsmen is also the god of art. The god of war is in charge of making sure that no one commits war crimes. It is notable that most of the wars we hear about are caused by the goddess of justice, not war. Even the god of chaos, while cursed with an effect that makes his appearance and even name random and ever-shifting, is really just a rather bored god of change.
  • The Heartstrikers: Mortal spirits of death are terrifying monstrosities that are built from humanity's fear of a specific type of death. The Empty Wind, Spirit of the Forgotten Dead, is the most terrifying of them all, and represents the true oblivion at the end of all things. But ultimately their purpose is to protect people from these deaths. The Empty Wind is the last defense against oblivion, remembering humans who everyone else has forgotten and keeping them safe. Sir Myron pulls a Face–Heel Turn in large part because he refuses to accept this positive aspect, dismissing him and all other mortal spirits as monsters best destroyed before they can rise again.
  • Hades made his debut in Ichiei Ishibumi's light novel series High School D×D, and services as the main antagonist throughout Volume 11 and Volume 12, aiding Khaos Brigade's Old Satan Faction and Hero Faction behind the scenes in a scheme to destroy the Devils and Fallen Angels. He commands a legion of Grim Reapers.
  • In The House on Hackman Hill, Anubis is portrayed as a monster who mummifies people alive and threatens the main characters.
  • Starkly averted in Moonflowers where Hades is one of the first deities to help out the Song family. He arrives because he's worried that Alima Song's grief for her presumed-dead parents has gone on for months without closure, then takes great offense when he finds out they AREN'T dead. He initially thinks that The Wild Hunt is playing a sadistic "prank," and nearly starts a speech about how they're fucking up "the natural order." When he finds out The Wild Hunt wants to all-out murder the Song family on Halloween/Samhain in the Fairy Raid (because it turns out he dealt with the murder-victims of the LAST one), he and Persephone immediately help out the Songs as much as possible.
  • Myth-O-Mania depicts Hades as usually the most helpful god, and a First-Person Smartass, though it also provides in-universe examples of this trope. For instance, Zeus claims that Persephone only became Hades' queen because he kidnapped her, when actually she hitched a ride on Hades' chariot while escaping her overprotective mother. Additionally, mortals who mistake Hades as a messenger of death fear him, a discrepancy he expresses annoyance with.
  • Nation gives us Locaha. He's the god of death, but also in charge of judging whether people have done well enough to enter the better world. They all choose to stay and make the real world better instead. He's friendly to Mau and even gives him hints a few times. He also argues against Imo destroying the world when he gets frustrated with it.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • In The Lightning Thief, Hades is the prime suspect of the theft of the master bolt in order to overthrow the gods. It turns out to be a subversion. It's not him; he thinks it was Percy and only wants the bolt so he can return it, along with reclaiming his stolen helmet. The real thief? Ares, being manipulated by Luke, being manipulated by Kronos. Humorously, this version of Hades mentions on his profile page on the official Percy Jackson site that Disney's Hercules is one of his favorite films. He even claims to like being portrayed as the bad guy for the movie; his only gripe was the blue flaming hair. (It's possible he's being sarcastic.) Percy even starts to feel a little bad for him as he sees him as the Olympian Black Sheep due to his job as lord of the dead, pointing out their treatment of him would make anyone bitter.
      • In a way, the book even has a hilarious Take That! to this trope: everybody assumes Hades would want a war to kill many people and get more subjects in his realm. When Percy actually confronts him, Hades is infuriated that people think he would want more subjects, seeing how he already has his hands full with the incredibly large numbers of death occurring every day.
        Hades: Have you any idea how much my kingdom has swollen in this past century alone? How many subdivisions I had to open?! More security ghouls! Traffic problems at the judgment pavilion! Double overtime for the staff!
    • In "The Last Olympian" Hades plays a slightly more antagonistic role, imprisoning Percy in the Underworld. Hades also refuses to help his family, though it is revealed Zeus killed Hades' mortal lover when trying to kill their children, making Hades' resentment at his family more understandable. Hades finally comes to help battle Kronos' army towards the end, and is given recognition by the other Gods.
    • The subversion continues in the sequel series (The Heroes of Olympus and The Trials of Apollo.) When Hazel, the daughter of Hades's Roman aspect, Pluto, is introduced, nobody dislikes her at all for her parentage and are surprisingly chill. After all, Hades is the god of mineral wealth - and his Roman name, Pluto, is actually derived from the word "Wealth". The only thing about Hazel that others are careful about are the gems she summons being cursed.
    • The Trials of Apollo: Apollo states that Hades often liked to sneak up on people and scare them while wearing his invisible cap.
  • Deconstructed in Flavia Bujor's The Prophecy of the Stones where Death, who is actually quite lovely, gets tired of being hated and quits. We are told this is not the first time it has happened.
  • In The Red Abbey Chronicles, the crone aspect of the goddess is as revered as her maiden and mother aspect, but the protagonist fears the crone and when the crone calls to her does everything in her power to have nothing to do with that aspect of the goddess, as it represents death, among other things. The fact that her little sister died in a famine winter may have something to do with it.
  • Downplayed in The Reynard Cycle. The lunar deity Wulf is a trickster figure, as well as a god of death, and he is admired for being cunning. One of his schemes even led to the creation of humanity, and people raise a toast to him whenever they sit down to a drink or a meal . . . But it's also believed that his motivation for doing so was so that he could inflict suffering on the human race in order to amuse himself, and that speaking his name draws his attention, so most people avoid mentioning him directly, calling him The Watcher.
  • The Riftwar Cycle subverts it. The first servants of the Goddess of Death that we see are the Nighthawks, an order of religious fanatics and contract killers in Ninja outfits. However, the mainstream Temple of Lims-Kragma soon disavows the Nighthawks when they start working for Murmandamus. Pug and Tomas meet with Lims-Kragma in a later book, and while she is a very scary goddess, she turns out to be fair-minded and kind-hearted, even though she has a tendency to deliver bad news.
    • On the Tsurani side of things, Turakamu is depicted as a red demon, feared rather than worshipped for his portfolio as ender of lives, and some pretty horrible things are done in Turaakamu's name by various people. However, Turakamu's priests see Turakamu as a natural part of the cycle of death and rebirth, do their level best to comfort the dying and grieving and are adamant that even their god cannot kill anyone before their allotted time is over. Turakamu's high priest in particular is a Good Shepherd and one of Mara's staunchest supporters in reforming Tsurani society.
  • Rogues of the Republic: Byn-kodar, God of Death, is seen as a vile daemon, and those who worship him are mostly insane and sociopathic necromancers. True death priests are rare, but they are very powerful, with complete dominion over all magic, and are nearly impossible to kill. Except Byn-kodar doesn't actually exist. He is a name given to the death powers that all the gods share. When, on rare occasions, a death priest is needed, they select a devout priest of a normal god and grant them the powers. This is why death priests have power over magic; all magic ultimately comes from the gods, and the death priests are being blessed by all the gods at once.
  • Subverted in the Shadowmarch series; the god Kernios is a pretty blatant counterpart to Hades (he's a god of death, darkness, and the underworld, and his brothers are a sky god and a sea god to boot) and it's heavily hinted throughout the books that he's the mysterious supernatural entity who is manipulating the mortal villains. Nope- Kernios is in hibernation and has been for millennia. The Big Bad is Zosim the trickster god, who'd been impersonating him.
  • The Silmarillion: Played around with with Mandos. While he's completely in line with the will of Eru Ilúvatar (like the rest of the Valar), he tends to be a little harsh regarding the interpretation. Of course, he has good reason to be so serious: the consequences of him screwing up would be truly dire. Most of the good guys, though, don't hate Mandos. It would be more accurate to say that everyone is scared of Mandos: as well they should be.
    • Mandos is a fairly standard "grim, gloomy, fatalistic, but not that bad of a sort" death god, and is portrayed as being strict but not malicious, and he can be moved to show mercy. Morgoth, Middle-Earth's actual God of Evil, is also associated with death, but he's more accurately the god of the fear of death (among other things), rather than death itself. Indeed, natural death is called the "Gift of Men" and is supposed to be a blessing—as the Elves would tell you immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be. The most effective way Morgoth- and later, Sauron- has of getting humans into trouble is to inspire them to aspire to actual immortality. It's always going to end badly.
    • Death isn't even really his thing per se (though he does live where souls wind up when they die). His actual "hat" is to speak prophesy; it's implied that unlike most of the Ainur, he was paying attention during the Music, so he knows all things that have happened or are going to happen, though he keeps his mouth shut about the future unless Manwë asks him. And of course those he does give harsh dooms to certainly seem to deserve it.
    • The other thing Mandos does, is help people repent of the crimes they committed in life or deal with the trauma they suffered. In this guise, it becomes clear that Mandos is actually one of the more loving Valar. He is stern, but much like a good therapist might be: he just isn't going to accept any BS excuses. Mandos knows all the consequences of every action a person took: good and bad. Good actions can have bad outcomes and bad actions can have good outcomes. Mandos can see all of that, even though most people can't.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the Faith of the Seven has the Stranger as one of their deities. The Stranger represents death and the unknown, and it's considered bad luck to mention him. While most regard him with fear, he isn't considered evil, and he's even occasionally prayed to. The Silent Sisters, caretakers of the dead, are sworn to his service.
    • The Faceless Men believe Death is the Only God, referring to him as the Many-Faced God due to their belief many Gods, such as the Stranger, are just one of his faces, and treat death as a merciful end to suffering.
  • Underworlds: Averted. Despite Hades' terrifying appearance and short temper, he proves to be an honorable god who even aids in the battle against Loki.
  • Watership Down: The Black Rabbit of Inlé: he is not actively malevolent, being neutral and a servant of the rabbit analogue of God (who incidentally happens to be good), but nobody likes him because of his job as an entity responsible for death.
  • In Zeus Inc., it turns out that God has actually been the central figure of every religion throughout human history, taking the spot of Top God for the polytheistic ones while his angels fill out the various other roles in the pantheon. This includes the Greek one, wherein He was naturally Zeus. The conflict of the book revolves around the protagonist having go rescue a Muse before she can be stolen and ransomed back by Hades, or as he's more commonly known; Satan.
  • In Dark Olympus by Katee Robert, Hades' nickname is "The Boogieman", and society rather pretends he is dead rather than acknowledge his existence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rome: An enraged Lucius Vorenus shouts, "I am a son of Hades!" The line works on modern audiences because it sounds like he's calling himself the son of Satan, i.e. a horrible, monstrous person. However, the line also works from a Roman perspective, since Hades/Pluto/Dis is a rather grim god, and screaming that you're his son would make you sound like a lunatic with a death wish. Though Pluto/Hades wasn't an evil deity per se, still invoking his name was an extreme taboo, only done when swearing an unbreakable oath. Vorenus declares himself utterly relentless and merciless, as well as desperate enough to call upon the Stygian deity.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Young Hercules:
    • Xena and later Young Hercules give this treatment not to Hades, as might be expected, but to Dionysus. In Classical mythology he's the god of wine, intoxication and excess (and a bit of a douche with a chip on his shoulder, like all Greek Gods) but in the TV series he's clearly a devil (red skin, horns and everything) whose worshippers are clearly vampires.
    • As for the man himself, Hades was treated quite well, despite the franchise's reputation for playing fast and loose with mythology. On occasion, he expresses annoyance with this trope, noting he is derided as dark and evil simply because of his domain and dressing in black. Though snarky and sometimes complaining about his job, Hades works hard to keep the Underworld running smoothly (whereas the other gods can be lazy or outright vindictive). He often helped the heroes and was quite reasonable. Even his relationship with Persephone is portrayed sympathetically; in this version, they were very much in love from the start, and he only abducted her because Demeter forbid their relationship. Hades does undergo a Face–Heel Turn during the Twilight of the Gods arc, but he's still acting like his usual self; he's just concerned about his own survival, and it's not like most of the other gods aren't doing the same.
  • Charmed:
    • Except for a mention of being the father of the demon Nikos in a novel, Hades himself never appears. However, Hecate, another underworld god(dess), comes off particularly badly, being turned into a demon.
    • Yama is the amoral gatekeeper of Chinese Hell who tries to snatch whatever spirits were not "properly buried" and drag them to Hell, regardless of whether they were good or evil.
    • The Angel of Death, on the other hand, is portrayed more or less sympathetically, especially during his first appearance. He does his job in ensuring that everyone dies at the appropriate time. If somebody who must die does not, it will cause the natural flow of death to halt and put the entire world in chaos.
  • Stargate SG-1: Though none of them are actually the gods they've adopted the personae of, Anubis of the Goa'uld is considered the most evil of the bunch, even by the Goa'uld themselves. The higher echelons of their race are all psychopathic despots with a god complex, but Anubis is the only one who's a complete Omnicidal Maniac.
  • In episodes of The Twilight Zone (1959) featuring a personification of death, he was usually nice and just wanted to help people move on, but was feared.
  • In the Greek Myths spin-off of Jim Henson's The Story Teller, Hades is presented as a bitter being who is unmoved by Orpheus's music and it takes Persephone groveling at his feet to get him to acquiesce.
  • The Nine Lives of Chloe King: The Jackals are a rival race to the Mai and are the children of Anubis just as the Mai are the children of Bast. They are described as mindless killing machines who reek of rotting flesh. On the other hand this description is given by the Mai and should be taken with a grain of salt. When actually encountered the Jackals are nasty but not as one dimensionally as described and there's at least one sympathetically portrayed one.
  • Supernatural:
    • Death is notable in that, among the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he's the only one who's not outright evil.
    • Another subversion with Anubis. In contrast to both many times this trope has been invoked with him and Supernatural making almost every supernatural being evil (including most gods, even if they weren't in their original mythology), Anubis here is closer to Egyptian mythology, as he simply weighs a person's heart to decide whether they go to Heaven or Hell.
  • In Once Upon a Time Hades is the villain of the second half of season 5 when the heroes go to The Underworld (which is basically Purgatory) to save Killian and he doesn't want any souls leaving his domain for any reason. He's so vile, in fact, that he's able to pull Eviler than Thou on every previous villain in the series, who are all shown to be downright terrified of him.
  • The Librarians 2014 does this with Anubis, who is summoned by fellow god Apep (AKA Apophis), and turns an entire research facility into werewolves. He is clearly portrayed as evil here, willing to aid Apep in unleashing the Ultimate Evil.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Not actually everyone (for some reason he has followers), though most people do loathe the Keeper of the Underworld and with good reason, as in contrast to most death gods he wants to destroy all living things permanently. In the meantime he visits misery on them when alive or under his control afterward.
  • Discussed and brought up in Lucifer occasionally, as the titular protagonist gets often frustrated as having a bad image thanks to the Church and modern pop culture as he's often made responsible for all evil doing in the world and people claiming that "the devil made them do it", when he as the devil was the King Of Hell who's job really was it to punish evil-doers, not being evil himself. There is some Truth in Television here, as historically the devil became more and more evil in religious retellings especially in the Catholic Church than he was early on portrayed in Jewish myths and The Bible.


    Mythology and Religion 
  • While Disney did go a bit over the top, Hades was not a favorite god of the Greeks, who didn't even like to say his name and would avert their eyes when sacrificing to him, as they worried about attracting his attention. He was said to "enrich himself with our sighs and our tears" by Sophocles. In Homer's Iliad, Agamemnon described him saying, "Hades who is utterly unyielding—and hence he is, of all gods, the one most hateful to mankind." This was a result of how Greeks observed the results of their prayers. You could pray to other gods for success in war, a safe journey, or a good harvest, and those prayers could seemingly be granted. But no matter how much you pray, nobody is coming back from the dead. While he was not considered out-and-out evil, being a death god put the kibosh on him ever becoming that popular. Though under his titles/aliases such as "Hades Pluton" "Chthonic Zeus" (which emphasized his place as Zeus' subterranean counterpart), "Clymenus", and others, he found more open worship, as they tended to focus more on his role as keeper of the earth's wealth/fertility and/or his roll as the keeper/guardian of souls. In these cases his more positive aspects were also played up, including his role as a god of justice for the dead and emphasizing his magnanimous nature.
    • How specifically he was treated depended largely on the source. Homeric hymns, epic poetry, and most Hellenic literature depicted him as The Dreaded, not evil, but certainly feared. Orphic hymns identified him with Zeus as a sort of Messianic figure, and highly revered his wife Persephone; Pythagorean thought, which has a variety of similarities to the Orphic cult, depicted him as a god of great significance (on par with Zeus, far more so than Poseidon). The perception of Hades, and his negative treatment in myth, was rooted in how the Greeks looked at death. To put it simply, while not a Satanic Archetype by any means, he was certainly considered a grim and terrifying figure. The modern perception of him in a more positive light actually owes itself to three things. First: the push-back against adaptations showing him as a God of Evil. Second: a change in the perception of death. In modern times, while dying is still roundly feared, death is primarily associated with peace and rest (whether you believe in religion or not). For the Greeks, death meant bleak oblivion. Third: what the ancient Greeks feared about Hades actually appeals to modern readers: he was inexorable. To the Greeks, this meant he was merciless, cruel, and unmoved by compassion; to us, it means he was fair and lacked much of the capriciousness that makes the other Olympians seem like Jerkass Gods.
    • Hades' wife, Persephone, was equally feared by Ancient Greeks for being his queen, and was called things like "The Dread Queen." Nowadays she's often seen as the nicer half of the pair, while in mythology she could be reactive and jealous, as Minthe learned. Though her being his nicer half is still rooted in myth, as she often encouraged/brought out his kinder side and Pet the Dog moments.
    • The Christian New Testament of The Bible (being written originally in Greek) plays with this trope, too. Since "Hades" was the name of the underworld as well as its patron God, a decent chunk of the times you see "Hell" in your English New Testament, it actually said "Hades" in the original Greek text.note 
  • In Old Testament Apocrypha, the Archangel Ramiel is described as the Archangel that watches over the dead. In the Books of Enoch (considered among the oldest of the Apocrypha), he joins Semjâzâ and later Satanael in their Angelic rebellion as the only Archangel of the group (Satan serves as the usurper of the rebellion while Semjâzâ serves as the founding leader). It's also implied in the second book of Enoch that Ramiel's own rebellious actions (due to Pride, which implies that he's the Leviathan who's "king of all who are proud") led to the founding of the rebellion, making him The Man Behind the Man to Semjâzâ (who'd later get hijacked by Satan once he learned of the rebellion). Samael, the Archangel of Death itself, had no part in these rebellions.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Some mythologists actually theorize that Loki, the default Big Bad of the myths, got hit with this as soon as Vikings started embracing Christianity. Unfortunately, this was around the same time the Vikings started writing down their mythology.
    • His daughter Hel, who is actually the goddess of death, was probably another victim of this. Older myths tend to depict her as a serene guide to the other world for departed souls who had died from natural causes. Demonization of pagan deities by the Christians made her an hideous hag preparing an army of the dead for her father. And, similarly to Hades, can you guess where the word Hell comes from? Baldrs Draumar pretty much shows her welcoming Baldr with a feast, and some have theorised that this is a surviving depiction of what Hel was like before demonisation. Older sources also don't speak of Helheim in particularly negative terms, implying that it wasn't that awful. It is noted that her armies side with the villains during Ragnarok, though interestingly, Loki is leading them while she's conspicuously absent.
  • There was a little-known Etruscan god of the underworld named Orcus. However he is mostly known today for being the etymology for "ogre" and "orc".
  • In Japanese Mythology, the Yomotsukami, the Gods of the Dead, are hardly ever mentioned. This can be attributed to how Shinto has a serious case of Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness going, with Impurity being the product and source of all of creations ills, from diseases to depressions, and death being both the greatest source of uncleanliness, to the point where just talking about it can make you unhappy, as well as being the greatest toll Impurity can take on a life. The most prominent Yomotsukami is Izanami, the dead wife of Izanagi, who resolved to kill 1000 living beings every day, (with Izanagi in turn resolving that he'd give life to 1500 every day,) essentially inventing mortality itself over a quarrel with her former husband.
  • An odd case of aversion in Chinese Mythology. The Chinese afterlife is called Diyu and you are interviewed by the higher powers before they allow you into heaven. If you fail, you will have to go through a maze to exonerate yourself of sin. There's an apocryphal story about Christian missionaries trying to convince the Chinese that they will go to Hell if they don't convert. The response the Chinese gave was "that's what you call it?" So while Diyu got a scary name like Hell attached to it (see Hell bank note), it's not necessarily an eternity of hellfire and brimstone, making this a failed attempt at demonization.
  • Similar to Hades and Persephone above, Nergal and Ereshkigal from Mesopotamian Mythology have been depicted in most pop culture as outright demons instead of just flawed and amoral deities. Then again, plenty of other ancient Mesopotamian deities also get turned into horrific abominations.
  • Central America:
    • Subverted with the Aztec deities Mictlāntēcutli and his wife Mictēcacihuātl. While they are terrifying (granted, most if not all of the Aztec pantheon would be scary to a modern person) they were still revered. Even after being Christianized, the Mexica people worship them in the modern form of Dio de los Muertos.
    • Zig-zagged with the Mayan deities of Xibalba. The surviving Spanish conquistador documents about them mention that most death gods are an example of Dark Is Not Evil, however some like Ah Puch were evil and hated even by ancient Maya peoples.
  • Mostly subverted with Supay- the reason the Conquistadores thought he was the Incan Devil was due to the fact that he was portrayed as genuinely greedy and vicious, causing death in the world as repayment for taking his property, the ore of the Earth, and known for actually making a Deal with the Devil (a much shorter life in return for that life being of fantastic wealth and success, since he will inevitably get his money back when the other party dies). Again, mostly subverted, as he wasn't portrayed as evil so much as ruthlessly fair.
  • In Turkic Mythology, Erlik Khan, who was originally a god of death and the underworld, was eventually re-interpreted as a demonic Big Bad to oppose Tengri, Lord of the Eternal Blue Sky.
  • The Voudoun loanote  of death, Baron Samedi, often gets this treatment, even though in the original stories, he is usually portrayed as a Nice Guy with a great sense of humor, who is basically just doing his job of taking people to the afterlife.
  • The goddess Kali from Hindu Mythology is commonly depicted with blood dripping from her mouth, while wearing a both a necklace of severed heads and a skirt of severed hands, while holding multiple blood-stained swords in her multiple hands. So she must be a goddess of evil who demands human sacrifice, as she is commonly depicted in western media, right? Wrong. She would be more accurately described as a Serial-Killer Killer Terror Hero. That blood dripping from her mouth? It's the blood of an Asura. Those severed heads around her hips? The heads of mortal Evil Overlords.
  • Chernobog, the Slavic god of darkness, could be a victim of this, or perhaps actually was thought of as evil by ancient Slavic people. Due to an extreme lack of any form of records from any pagan from that time period, we really have no clue what they thought of him.
    • In medieval times, the Slavic god of the underworld, Veles, was associated with the devil because of his opposition to Perun, who was syncretised as St. Elijah.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Hades wears lots of intimidating spikes and routinely blows out fire but is usually a Face on the US Indy scene. His opponents usually try to convince cheering audiences that he's Obviously Evil to no avail.
  • In WWE, Kali appears as "The Great Khali" (spelled with a silent "h" and pronounced "kah-LEE" rather than "KAH-lee," perhaps to play off contemporary fears of Arab terrorists, a theory strengthened by the fact that his original manager, Khosrow Daivari, was Middle Eastern). Khali is a cruel Punjabi giant portrayed by Indian actor and wrestler Dalip Singh Rana. Other than being Indian, having (relatively) dark skin, and sticking out his long tongue once in a mockery of The Undertaker, the wrestling "Khali" really bears no relation to the goddess he's named after, and has in fact undergone two Heel Face Turns in the course of his career. So, Quadruple Subversion?

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 3rd edition splatbook Deities & Demigods lists Hades as Neutral Evil largely so they could give him levels in the assassin Prestige Class. The book specifically notes that he isn't actively hostile or vicious, and that he mostly just is; everyone dies eventually, and someone has to run the afterlife. However, a clarification from the writers later on is that Hades is listed as Neutral Evil because of the oldest class-based artifact in D&D's history: Hades has the class Assassin, which requires the person with it to be evil, if the DM removes a deity's class stats (which they should), Hades would be be somewhere between Lawful Neutral and True Neutral. Also Hecate, even if she's described as protrectress of children and provider of food and riches, gets a similar treatment being classified as Neutral Evil and considered both capricious, fickle, and similar to the Planescape version noted below despite her being in the original mythos rather different. Anubis on the other hand was listed as Lawful Neutral. Hel, of course, gets the "evil" treatment (and one that affects her personality more, likely due to her being half rotting corpse), despite being by far the least antagonistic of Loki's children in the original myths. Ironically, Loki has a strange case of this: in the section on Norse deities, the book tells the DM that if the setting is before the slaying of Baldr, Loki, despite being Chaotic Evil, would not be actively evil. Notably, the book also adds the idea of the Repose domain, which seems designed as an attempt at averting this: it's meant to represent gods of death that aren't cackling foes of all life, and whose clerics are more likely to simply mind the graveyards and conduct funeral rites. Gods which play this trope straight usually get the Death domain, which is the one with all the overt necromancy, spreading fear, and instant-killing, whereas gods who view death as more of a passing thing (i.e. Anubis and Osiris) get the Repose domain.
    • Averted back in second edition Planescape, where Hades' realm, also called Hades, is certainly not in a nice place, but Hades himself is depicted pretty much as a cynical version of his Greek Myth self. Hades is Lawful Neutral. Hecate, however, abandons her mythologic role as a complex goddess and falls more in line with Shakespeare's vision of her in The Scottish Play.
    • Nearly every deity of death and/or the underworlds in that book is Lawful Neutral or Neutral Evil (mostly the latter). The big exception is Osiris, who's listed as Lawful Good. In various other books, the deity of death tends to be Lawful Neutral instead, and there tends to be a different underworld for each alignment.
    • From the Greyhawk pantheon, the death god Nerull is sometimes called the Hater of Life and the Foe of All Good, and his clergy are all serial killers. The hatred is heartfelt and mutual. Averted with Greyhawk's other major death diety, Wee Jas. She's a Lawful Neutral goddess of magic as well as death who's not terribly nice or popular but is respected.
    • On top of this we have the Demon Lord Orcus and the Archdevil Dispater, Roman deities often conflated with Hades.
    • Sadly, played very straight in 5th edition, where the lack of a Death domain in the Player's Handbook (it's instead found in the Dungeon Master's Guide, as a class option for villain NPCs) is explicitly handwaved with the "fact" that most Death gods are evil and so most Clerics with the Death domain will be villains. It does mention that it's possible for Death Clerics who aren't evil, specifically citing Anubisnote  and Nephthysnote  of the Egyptian pantheon, who contrast Set,note  as reasons why, but it's only mentioned in passing. However the Grave Cleric option added in the Xanathar's Guide to Everything averts this. While Death Clerics focus on death as an ender of life and specialise in necrotic-type offensive spells and dealing huge damage, Grave Clerics focus on gods that are the guardians of the dead; to a Grave Cleric, death is just another part of how the world works on a fundamental level, and resisting death or desecrating the dead is an abomination. Grave Clerics' abilities focus is on destroying undead creatures, easing the passing of the dying, and staving off death.
    • Varies somewhat in the Forgotten Realms setting, where there have been a total of four gods of death over the years. Jergal was uncaring and unsettling, Myrkul was cruel and capricious, and Cyric was outright Ax-Crazy. The incumbent Kelemvor, however, is Lawful Neutral and directs his clergy to comfort the bereaved and slay undead rather than propagate them (which is sometimes difficult when your temple is a repurposed one to Myrkul or Cyric, due to Kelemvor only having been on the job for two years as of 3rd Edition). The trope still applies to Kelemvor, however, as he was Lawful Good in Second Edition, and other deities (including good deities) forced him to adopt a Lawful Neutral alignment because the authors didn't like the idea of a good Death deity.
      • Jergal in particular actually Inverts the trope twice over: He was originally a Neutral Evil god of strife, death, and the dead, but he eventually grew bored with this position and became the Lawful Neutral god of morticians and undertakers instead.
    • In the first edition Deities & Demigods, Hades is in a class by himself when it comes to what's called divine horror. He out-horrors every other deity in the book (including truly revolting non-human gods such as the troglodytes' Laogzed and Vaprak of the ogres; even Lovecraftian deities like Cthulhu and Hastur don't inspire as much horror) with a charisma of –9.note  It's the lowest score of any deity in the book.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Averted with the core deity, Pharasma. She's pretty reasonable overall, gets along with nearly all the other gods, her church has a reputation for being good mediators and avoiding conflict, and even though she's The Grim Reaper, she has no problem with you being resurrected (it wasn't really your time yet). Just don't be undead. Ever.
    • Deities of undeath, on the other hand, such as Urgathoa, tend to play this straight.
    • Zyphus, the Grim Harvestman and a lesser member of the core deities, plays with this trope. He's the god of accidental death and tragedy (read: Dropped a Bridge on Him) and vehemently opposes the idea of a there being such a thing as an appropriate death. That being said, he's Neutral Evil, has been in a Rage Against the Heavens mode for as long as he's been a deity, and happily works with the Four Horsemen.
    • The Tian Xia god of death, Yaezhing, is a zig-zagging case of this: he's the Tian-Shu deity of murder, death, and punishment which exceeds the crime; he is patron of ninja and assassins; and despite being Lawful Evil is more of the Noble Demon type (he's a Punch-Clock Villain and enforcer of justice among the gods).
    • Charon, the ferryman of the dead from Classical Mythology, is reimagined as an archdaemon and the eldest most powerful of the Four Horsemen — in other words, as the most evil and omnicidal member of a race defined by being utterly evil and devoted to the end goal of killing everything in the universe, then killing each other in a frenzy of hatred when that's done, and the last daemon standing then killing itself out of self-hatred, leaving behind an eternally dead and empty universe. A big step up in villainy for a Psychopomp whose mythical depiction had him doing little beyond ferrying the dead from one side of the river Styx to the other.
    • The Grim Reaper is reimagined as a powerful undead creature which is sometimes mistaken as a Psychopomp but in truth is a monster that hunts down living creatures relentlessly. It's a manifestation of the malevolent will of Abaddon, the plane where Neutral Evil creatures go after death.
  • Ponyfinder: The ponykind death goddess, Soft Whisper, has been almost forgotten since her primary worshippers, the Tribe of Bones, were wiped out, and continues to exist only because pony souls still need someone to send them on and no other deity has arisen to usurp her role. Despite this, she's a world-weary, gentle yet firm goddess who only wants to make sure that the spirits of the dead go on to their proper place in the afterlife, and who abhors necromancy.
  • Scion: Averted — Hades is presented as he is in the myths — probably the only level-headed person in the Dodekatheon. Aside from mild tendencies towards greed and irritation at being a "dwarf planet", he's an all right guy. Among the Pesedjet, Osiris looks after his subjects, taking care of them, but is also someone who can tell you up front he's a manipulator, and still get you to go along with him because he seems so good and wise, while Anubis is a dedicated worker who hates being disappointed by his compatriots. Then there's Baron Samedi of the Loa, who's the ultimate party creature, living (un)life to excess. On the other hand, Miclantehcuhtli of the Atzlanti is portrayed as being evil in a spiteful, petty bureaucrat sort of way; Hel of the Norse Aesir is cold, cruel and unfeeling, and the Ragnarok supplement mocks players who want to make her happy through the power of true love (although it does leave open the possibility); and Izanami of the Amatsukami torments other gods and Scions for being unable to save her from her tortured and rotten state as ruler of the Japanese underworld (but she's still for all that a gracious hostess, and reluctant to have anyone condemn themselves to her fate). All of these are pretty close to their respective myths, no less. White Wolf likes to do the research.
    • Somewhat. Getting into the various little inaccuracies of Scion's depictions of certain gods can cover a lot more than this trope, but Mictlantecuhtli wasn't evil at all. He was very terrifying in appearance, sure, but he was really just a grump that took his job VERY seriously. That job being keeping living people out of Mictlan and making sure dead people stayed in it.
    • Of the non-core pantheons in 1e, Manannan mac Lir of the Tuatha de Dannan is a psychopomp, a quick-thinking trickster and seducer, while the Morrigan is seer, warrior and death-queen, a fearsome figure even to her fellow gods, but not unsympathetic; the Celestial Bureaucracy's Yanluo is a compassionate figure, who seeks to help the dead work through their sins; and of the Hindu Devas, Yama is a dispassionate judge who lacks a sense of humour, Kali is a fierce, terrifying change-agent, a necessary part of the cycle, and Shiva is a dancer, a nightmare, a destroyer and an ascetic mystic by turns.
  • The Freedom City setting for Mutants & Masterminds has Hades as a criminal mastermind trying to extend his reach on Earth, complete with an invasion by the forces of Tartarus back in the Silver Age. For bonus point, Baron Samedi is also a douchenozzle in setting, though that may have something to do with his choice of mount.
  • Palladium's Rifts is particularly bad about this. Here's a breakdown by pantheon:
    • Aztec: Predictably, the cultural Values Dissonance wreaks havoc. With the exception of Quetzalcoatl and his pal/sidekick Xolotl, the entire pantheon is made up of bastards and a few gods who feel they don't have a choice in following them. Mictlan, the lord of the dead (well, it's actually the name of the underworld, but by this point, who cares, right?) deserves special mention, as it's technically not a pantheon member the Eldritch Abomination co-ruler of Hades (the place, which is crawling with a bunch of demon races; Hades the god rules another chunk of it) with fellow demon lord Modeus.
    • Sumero-Babylonian: Apsu (an obscure water god mentioned in the Enûma Eliš as Tiamat's husband) is a titanic, even-more-overpowered-than-usual Eldritch Abomination sealed just prior to the gods' rebellion; Ereshkigal (goddess of the dead) and her husband Nergal (god of the sun and destruction; both rule over the underworld) are secretly but gleefully on Apsu and Tiamat's side and wait for the moment when they can rejoin them and destroy the rest of the pantheon.
    • Egyptian: Anubis is The Dragon within the Pantheon of Taut (the "evil" half of the pantheon, led by Set), who for lack of other evil forces besides Apep/Apophis had to be filled with other rather ridiculous choices such as Anhur (who's there mostly because of Honor Before Reason), Bes (who supposedly became an evil psycho long ago for... some reason), and Amon (who's now a woman who became evil and ugly "just because").
    • Greek: Ironically, Hades gets off the easiest, coming off mostly as a Jerkass Knight Templar; Ares is a bullying jerk, but that's the same as in actual myth. Hera is a Soap Opera-style Queen Bitch who's finally gone insane from Zeus' philandering, and is actively fomenting strife between Olympus and other pantheons, as well as thinking about freeing the Titans. The Titans themselves are either Eldritch or Humanoid Abominations - Cronos is a black blob of eyes and tentacles who created the first olympian gods as edible power batteries, and Hecate, while more or less human in appearance, is a ruthless power-hungry pragmatist who's mercenary enough to deal with the Splugorth (a whole species of eldritch abominations whose hat is being Corrupt Corporate Executive imperialistic slave-traders).
    • Norse: Mostly untouched (Loki's a bad guy), but Hel (goddess of the dishonorable dead)'s bad side is emphasized: She's an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac who wants to ally herself with the Mechanoids (who are borderline Dalek expies) to exterminate all humanoid life in The Multiverse.
    • Hindu: Kali gets the full treatment (Ax-Crazy Blood Knight who betrayed the pantheon to the aforementioned Splugorth For the Evulz), but then so does Yama, god of death (psychopathic, sadistic Omnicidal Maniac; notice a pattern yet?). Even Varuna is a bitter Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who'll stoop to any level to get back his former power.
    • Chinese: The Yama Kings (all of them) have come through the Rifts with armies of demons to carve up most of China into their personal little kingdoms, and each is a Hell on Earth of a different flavor (or flavors - the Chinese have a lot of hells), so they're probably not nice people; their receiving villainous coverage also happened in Palladium's "Mystic China" supplement for their martial arts RPG Ninjas & Superspies.
    • Maya: Barely touched upon, but all we see (the lords of the underworld of Xibalba and bat-god Camazotz) are demon lords.
    • And then there's a bunch of pretenders and impostors passing themselves for existing legitimate gods, usually for less-than-virtuous reasons, many of whom are actually Eldritch Abominations (notice another pattern?)
  • Averted in the Theros cycle of Magic: The Gathering. Erebos, the stand-in for Hades/Pluto/Erebus, is the god of (among other things) many unpleasant things like envy, bitterness, misfortune, and misery. Nonetheless he is a Benevolent Boss to both charges and his followers, indeed he seems to be the nicest of the Theros gods. While none of the other gods seem to care about their worshippers Erebos at least empathizes with the desire for acceptance. His only flaws usually stem from his tunnel vision regarding potential escapees; You're dead, dammit, and you don't get to Screw Destiny by returning to life. On the other hand, it's played somewhat straighter in the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons supplement Mythic Odysseys of Theros, which lists his alignment as Neutral Evil and gives him some Adaptational Villainy in the fluff.
  • Champions is actually pretty scrupulous about this. In the fourth edition there was a sourcebook for the Greek gods, and it specifically said Hades isn't evil and really only concerned with running the underworld. We also got a 40's villain called the Doberman who was given immortality by Anubis, but Anubis's real reasoning for doing so was giving new heroes an easy villain to hone their skills on. Fifth edition onward gave us the villain Anubis, but he's actually an agent of Set. For some reason.
  • Warhammer (along with Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar) has an obvious expy of Nergal (the Mesopotamian underworld god of war, death, and disease) in the form of Nurgle (the Chaos God of disease, death, decay, and despair).

  • Subverted in Stephen Sondheim's The Frogs. Listen for yourself.
  • The main antagonist of Once on This Island is Papa Ge, a Vodou Loa associated with death whom the actual lore seems to portray as a pretty decent guy (at least as far as The Other Wiki can be trusted on the subject). Even in the play's storyline, this trope is played with- Papa Ge is implied to just do his job and isn't entirely evil. He even hangs out with the three other gods like good friends. "And Papa Ge was gentle, as he carried her to shore..." Especially when you consider that the main plot boils down to a bet over whether love or death is more powerful, and Papa Ge doesn't really do anything besides offer the main character the option of choosing death. Add to that the fact that it's somewhat implied in some productions that Erzulie, the goddess of love, more or less used her powers to make Timone (the main character) fall in love with somebody unsuitable (an affair that can only logically end in pain for somebody), plus the other gods' general manipulation (which boils down to "it's fun to play with humans") and you get a case of all four being Jerkass Gods at worst and operating under Blue-and-Orange Morality at best.
  • In Hadestown, Hades is depicted as a welfare capitalist, with all the false promises (to the dead in general, and Eurydice in particular) that entails. However, the musical also treats him with sympathy, showing that most of the evil things he does are motivated by fear of losing his wife Persephone, and in the end, he gives Orpheus and Eurydice a shot at freedom partly to keep his workers in line and partly due to the song reminding him of his love for Persephone.
  • Parodied in Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. Although the operetta plays with the Mephistophelian on a few occasions, Pluto is portrayed more as a lovable lech who is in many ways more sympathetic than big hypocrite Jupiter. Also the Underworld is shown to be much more of a fun place than stolid Olympus. In case you didn't know, the characteristic piece of music associated with the "Can-Can" dance is from this piece (it's formally called the Galop Infernal).
  • In Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, the Ruler of the Underworld is portrayed as an unpleasant literal Manchild and stalker who coerces Eurydice to wipe her memory in the waters of Lethe. Persephone is not present in the play, as Eurydice takes her place as Hades' bride.
  • Pops up in The Phantom of the Opera during the song "Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh" from ''Il Muto''. Hades is treated as a synonym for "Hell" for no other reason than Rhymes on a Dime:
    This faithless lady's bound for Hades/Shame, shame, shame!
  • Much like in the book it's based on, Hades in Percy Jackson and the Olympians subverts this trope. Hades is the prime suspect of the theft of the master bolt in order to overthrow the gods. It turns out to be a subversion. It's not him; he thinks it was Percy. The real thief? Ares, being manipulated by Luke, being manipulated by Kronos. He does, however, diverge slightly from the book by expressing interest in the master bolt and bargaining Percy's mother to get it. Overall, though, he's not really a "villain."
    Hades: Of course. You thought I was the bad guy. Everyone always thinks HADES IS THE BAD GUY!...Maybe it's the decor, I don't know.
  • In Orpheus: A Poetic Drama, Hades is portrayed as keeping his shades placated with mindless work and actively trying to close the gates to the paradise of Elysium, and also works to ensure Orpheus fails in his quest. He also argues with Persephone a lot.


    Video Games 
  • This trope is prevalent in-universe in AdventureQuest. Among the gods of the Lorian pantheon is The'Galin, god of uncreation. He can remove people or concepts from coming into existence, and he is known as "The Devourer" among those who fear his coming. The'Galin disdains that nickname and the malicious interpretation people have of him, since he uses uncreation to keep order, and even then, he only resorts to it if he has no other options.
  • Deconstructed in AFK Arena with the god of death Annih. He was originally just doing his job, leading him to be demonized by the human population. Not helping was his sister Dura, the goddess of life, naïvely heaping rewards onto her followers, which caused them to love her and hate him even more, until they started collectively becoming Immortality Seekers. At this final insult, he became exactly what the mortals thought of him, abandoned his post (which had its own share of problems, such as making necromancy possible), created the Hypogeans, and declared war on Esperia.
  • Subverted in Age of Mythology. During the War of Troy part of the campaign, the Trojan's god of choice is Hades, at one point the protagonists must escape Erebus and during a dream where Arkantos joins his enemies and attacks Atlantis, you play as an Hades worshipper. But at no point does Hades actively try to stop the heroes (nor does he help them, either). The real Big Bad of the game turns out to be Poseidon.
  • In Akuji the Heartless, the eponymous hero strikes a deal with Baron Samedi, the god of the Haitian underworld, who claims that he will revive Akuji after bringing enough souls of his ancestors. Akuji doesn't have a single iota of respect for the guy. Sure enough, it turns out that Baron Samedi brainwashed Akuji's brother to kill him in the first place, in a bid to use their ancestors' souls to enter the surface world and take it over.
  • Zigzagged in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. Arronax is a Satan figure, an ancient elf from the Age of Legends who had been banished to the Void by Nasrudin, and his worshippers are planning to bring him back and exterminate or enslave all non-elves. Arronax isn't behind any of this, and in fact has been trapped in a shell for thousands of years. Kerghan the Necromancer has been impersonating him, and Kerghan's goal is to end all life on Arcanum, because the afterlife is a place of peaceful rest for all. He's an enemy of all life, but a reasonable guy for all that, and can be convinced to abandon his plan and die instead. Note that in Arcanum, "godhood" seems to be in the eye of the beholder, except for the Old Gods (who are only known through their blessings and curses). Kerghan is worshipped as a god, and is powerful enough to annihilate all life on Arcanum, ergo he is a god.
  • In Assassin's Creed the Isu are the inspiration for the various gods in mythology. Hades and Aita (in real life the latter is the Etruscan god that greco-romans syncretised with Hades) are bad people, the former a jerkass and the latter an outright evil Mad Scientist.
  • While Hades can be considered the main antagonist of the myth of Orpheus, it was largely because dead people aren't supposed to come back to life. However, in The Battle of Olympus, he had Orpheus's love interest killed so that he could marry her, justifying the subsequent beating administered by the player.
  • Battlezone (1998) implies that the mythical Hades was inspired by an evil, violent faction of Ancient Astronauts.
  • In BlazBlue, the final antagonist of Chronophantasma turns out to be the mythological Izanami... who ends up playing the part of Generic Doomsday Villain who wants to create a World of Death because that's what she does (though the future may change on that trope). At least that's what the Japanese version does, but in the English version and carrying over to Central Fiction, they slap the name Hades in front of her, turning her name into 'Hades Izanami', making it a double whammy for both myths, especially since her title of "Meiou" (lit. Dark King) in Japanese is part of the term "meiousei" (lit. dark king star), the Japanese name for Pluto and by proxy another one of Hades' names.
  • In Castlevania, Death is Dracula's Right Hand Man. And while Hades is not present in this series, his wife Persephone is a villainous Ninja Maid.
  • Dark Romance: Kingdom of Death portrays Hades as an irredeemable villain intent on overthrowing Zeus by any means necessary, even kidnapping his own niece and trying to kill her mortal lover.
  • In DC Universe Online, Hades is a boss in the "Throne of the Dead" raid in Amazon Fury Part II, but afterwards he became a grudging ally in Amazon Fury Part III, and later in Metal Part I as well, if only because Ares is even worse.
  • An Egyptian Tale, befitting the setting, features Anubis as the main villain who runs a cult that rules Ancient Egypt with an iron fist. He's also the game's difficult Final Boss who commands an army of skeletons and mummies.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Arkay, the God of Death, averts this in the Imperial and classic Aldmeri pantheons, due to being the God of Death and Life. He is typically considered a compassionate god who sometimes has to do bad things so that something good will happen elsewhere, or ensuring that the world doesn't become totally static by allowing death so that new life can arise. He also averts this as his Yokudan/Redguard aspect, Tu'whacca, who guides the souls of the dead to the Far Shores, of which he is the caretaker.
    • Played straight by Arkay's Old Nordic aspect, Orkey, the "Old Knocker", who is despised by Nords for giving them shorter lifespans than the hated Mer in their mythology. He also shows up several times in their mythology as a villain, such as when he and Alduin teamed up to reduce all Nords to the age of children. (Wulfharth Ash-King undid it using the Thu'um, but accidentally aged himself up too much and died.)
  • Averted in Fate/Grand Order in the fifth Lostbelt storyline, which deals an alternate timeline where the Olympians defeated the threat that destroyed them in Proper Human History. Afterwards, the Gods had a civil war determining whether or not they should continue their rule or allow humanity to rule themselves, with Hades leading the faction that favored the latter (and ending up dead for it).
    • Sumerian death goddess Ereshkigal is portrayed in Grand Order as The Woobie; her first few appearances in the Babylon chapter are asking the protagonist to tell her stories and promise to be her friend, and the third Christmas event is about her becoming burnt-out and depressed by her role as the queen of the underworld and the hatred she gets from the living. It's because of her negative reputation that her in-universe alignment is Chaotic Evil despite being the complete opposite of that.
    • The original Hassan-i-Sabbah, Grand Assassin, also goes by Azrael, the name of an Abrahamic angel of death, and while a bit too eager to execute others, he is overwhelmingly on the protagonist's side.
  • Subverted in the God of War series, where Hades is no more evil than the other gods of Olympus despite his demonic appearance. However, it's played straight in the manual, which describes him as "a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects." In the sequels, he is finally motivated to kill Kratos out of revenge for his niece (Athena), brother (Poseidon) and wife (Persephone), thus making his actions at least understandable.
    • The subversion is undone in the PSP title Ghost Of Sparta, where Thanatos, a death god whose existence is said to preempt that of Olympus, is a right bastard, who goes to significant lengths to keep Kratos from finding his brother, and when that fails kills Deimos, and constantly mocks Kratos the entire boss fight. This implies that Hades is not so much the god of death as he is of the afterlife (which was his actual role in Greek Mythology).
    • Played straight with Persephone, Hades' wife, who not only hates her husband but plans to destroy Olympus, Elysium, and all of creation with it out of spite for her forced marriage.
  • The first Fear Effect depicts Yen Lo Wang, the Chinese God of the Underworld, as the main villain and the overarching antagonist of the entire franchise. He also intends to kickstart the apocalypse and rule over mortals, besides turning his main human lackey into a spider-like demon.
  • Hades:
    • Subverted with Hades himself. Although Hades has an antagonistic role and is a verbally abusive father who frequently mocks and belittles his son Zagreus, the protagonist, he's more of an overworked bureaucrat who happens to be an asshole in his personal life than a cackling villain, and he has good reasons for trying to stop his son's attempts to escape the underworld. When it comes to his duties as the god of the dead, he takes them very seriously, even if it sometimes comes off like he’d rather be doing anything else.
    • Thanatos is also a subversion; despite being the embodiment of death, he's one of the more sympathetic characters in the game and mainly deals with those who died peacefully. Unfortunately for him, the trope is played straight In-Universe among the mortal populace, who hate and fear him, and often blame Ares' misdeeds on him.
  • In Herc's Adventures, Hades is the villain of the game who kidnaps Persephone so everyone on Earth will die and fill up the Underworld. Subverted in the end. You're actually fighting a robot alien disguising as Hades, the real Hades is... nowhere to be seen.
  • The Hero of Sparta duology depicts Hades as a ruthless, armor-clad Tin Tyrant who wants to destroy Sparta, with the heroic King Argos of Sparta standing in his way.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, a particularly destructive AI system is named HADES, after the Olympian god. HADES was originally part of GAIA, the AI created to restore life to Earth after it was wiped out by the Faroh Plague, and HADES was an important part of this process: in the event things went wrong, HADES would wipe out the failed biosphere so that GAIA could start over again. Almost 20 years before the game begins, a mysterious signal caused HADES to go rogue and try to wipe out all life.
  • In Immortal Throne, the expansion to Titan Quest, Hades is cast as the villain. The reason being that after the connection between the godly realms and earth was severed in the first game and Typhon was destroyed, Zeus decided that the Olympian gods would take this as an opportunity to depart from the world and leave humans to their own affairs as they had proven themselves capable of such. Hades went rogue, formed a demon army, and started to assault the overworld, and it was the lot of the player to put an end to Hades, of whom Zeus had predicted his actions and actually set the player on the right path to deal with him.
  • Kid Icarus has Pluton, an invincible and incredibly annoying ogre thief, whose name is the original Greek spelling for Pluto (Ploutōn). The Grim Reaper (shortened to Reaper) and the God of Revenge are also enemies. The first may come from Pluto's other portfolio, being the god of wealth.
  • Kingdom Hearts, being based off Disney Animated Canon, also cast Hades as a villain. Oddly enough, he and Captain Hook were the only Disney villains to not fall into darkness. It's worth noting that this version of Hades is more of a Jerkass than anything, his only real reason for joining Maleficent's entourage is to get rid of Hercules.
  • Averted in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow when Alexander confronts the Lord of the Dead. He is completely uncaring of the souls he judges but is ultimately a fair arbiter. His lack of emotion is the result of losing his humanity and ability to care after witnessing centuries of tragedy and despair while judging souls, gradually becoming numb and inhuman as a result.
  • Played straight in Lords of Magic, which had factions devoted to the worship Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Fire, Order, Chaos, Life, and Death. Guess which one was set up as the Big Bad.
  • In all of the Might and Magic games, whenever your party dies, you get a chilling but well-intentioned speech from Death itself, who chides you that your time in the land of the living is not done, and sends you back... but not before warning you that "... but I am quite sure that we will meet again."
  • Monster Hunter (PC) inexplicably has the Grim Reaper as one the the three main villains, alongside an evil warlock and Count Dracula, fought as a boss halfway through.
  • While Queen Odette, ruler of the Underworld in Odin Sphere isn't directly based on a real mythological figure, she's still treated as the Designated Villain, though not without reason. Despite her sadistic tendencies, such as torturing the Pooka who enter her realm without pause and not caring for the state of her subjects regardless of their sins in life, she still makes it clear that everyone needs to stop traipsing in and out of her domain and stealing her magic crystals to make Psyphers, which pervert the natural order of life, and to try and bring people back to life. If everyone would just stay out of the Underworld, they'd never even have to deal with her, unless your name is Oswald, thanks to a Deal with the Devil he didn't even have a say in. In fact, when she's finally Killed Off for Real, it allows King Gallon, who she's kept locked up this whole time for being too big a threat, to take over the Underworld in her place and try to kill living being in Erion in one of the biggest Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moments of the game. Then again, she's partially to blame for making him an immortal regenerating corpse that can only be killed by her power to begin with.
  • Thanatos is a demon lord in Panel de Pon but there is a subversion here: he was a fake.
  • Izanami is revealed to be a villain in Persona 4. Somewhat appropriate in that she is kind of a villain in Shinto myth. It's also hard to tell whether this character is particularly good or evil, as the reason behind everything is that Izanami is testing humanity to grant its apparent wish depending on who wins: Adachi (Emptiness), Namatame (Despair) or the protagonist (Hope). When the protagonist wins and defeats her, Izanami accepts her defeat and congratulates him.
  • Subverted in Poptropica where the Underworld is portrayed as a dark and gloomy place decorated with various skeletons and Hades himself doesn't look any better. He ultimately turns out to be an ally to the player.
  • The Atari game Riddle of the Sphinx featured Anubis as the main enemy. You know, Anubis, the kindly, jackal headed god of the newly dead who just wants to get you to the Land of the Dead safely. It's made even more glaring given the fact that Egyptian Mythology already had a sort of Satan figure in Set, the fratricidal god of the Underworld.
  • Completely averted with Icthlarin and Death from RuneScape. The two of them are, as a whole, very nice guys despite their association with dying, which has earned them a number of fans. Icthlarin was even popular enough that in a quest where you choose to side with a god (or the Godless faction), people overwhelmingly chose him despite being a demigod in a room full of much stronger, full-fledged gods. Death, while not as popular, still has a significant fanbase because of his humor, personality, and close friendship with Icthlarin. In-universe, neither of them are seen as bad, with Icthlarin's guiding souls to the underworld being universally seen as a positive thing and him being seen as the good god of the desert, and Death's role being important enough for the gods (who are, to say the least, not on good terms) to work together to prevent anything from happening to him.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor has Yama, Buddhist judge of the underworld, making a contract with one of the people inside the Tokyo Lockdown. He reveals himself to be a Hanging Judge to whom All Crimes Are Equal (and death being the only sentence). To be fair, though, we only see him interact with people guilty of crimes like murder, abuse of authority and similar — he ignores the party, who are not guilty of anything, until you attack him.
  • Smite features various Gods from various mythologies, and yet managed to have aversions, subversions and examples. Gods relating to death and underworld/afterlife such as Hades, Anubis, Hel and Baron Samedi are treated with Dark Is Not Evil treatment, they may be scary but they're just doing their jobs in managing the dead (though Hel has a severe case of Split Personality, which was probably a good compilation of the aforementioned 'Serene Hel' and 'Demonized-By-Pagans Hel' in the Mythology section). Thanatos is kind of a subversion, because while he's out to reap the souls of every Gods that turns out he dislikes, he has a good reason for it: He's The Grim Reaper, Gods being immortal is an insult to his job and philosophy of 'All beings will die one day', but in terms of taking the souls of mortals, it's just a daily job he does with no complaints or extra enthusiasm (although kind of bored since it poses no challenge). Loki, however, plays it straight, being one of the more Obviously Evil Gods whose purpose to kill the Gods is merely For the Evulz.
    • With the release of the Mayan god Ah Puch, this trope was finally reconstructed with a Death god. Much like Apep from the Egyptian Mythology, people don't pray for Ah Puch, they instead do things to make sure Ah Puch doesn't claim the dead to be tortured. Hell his lore even makes him sound just straight-up monstrous. This isn't even a case of Sadly Mythtaken: This is how Ah Puch has been in the original mythology. Eventually, Izanami also joins the 'reconstruction' camp, as she's very malevolent and aiming to kill off everyone for her revenge, much like in the original myth, no one seems to like her for good reasons. But if you're paying attention with the original myth, she comes off less of a reconstruction because she wasn't doing it For the Evulz, but because of a tragedy.
  • In the remake of Spelunky, the True Final Boss is King Yama, who rules over a Fire and Brimstone Hell. Although it's hard to say if he's really evil, being a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere even in a game with no plot.
  • In Stray Gods, not only did Hades kidnap Persephone like in the myth, he physically abused and mistreated her while they were married, leading her to murder him, and he explicitly tricked Orpheus into losing Eurydice during his quest, leaving Orpheus with a grudge against Persephone.
  • In Too Human, a Cyberpunk adaptation of Norse Mythology, Hel is a Mad Scientist who cybernetically reanimates the corpses of the dishonored dead that she is entrusted with as cannon fodder, including Baldur's beloved wife, and is loyal to her father Loki.
  • A subversion in Touhou Project of all places. The "Goddess of Hell" Hecatia Lapislazuli, Optional Boss of Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, is blatantly Hecate, even keeping the "triple-bodied" aspect found in many representations of the goddess. But even though she fights alongside the game's Big Bad, who is literally an Anthropomorphic Personification of sheer hatred and an uncharacteristically evil villain for the series, Hecatia does not come off as being all that evil herself. She is, in fact, one of the least hostile beings in Hell, and actively protects Gensokyo from the more violent denizens of her jurisdiction. (She is also a Perky Goth wearing a "Welcome ♥ Hell" T-shirt as opposed to the dark and imposing deity you'd expect.)
  • In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy , Nadine says this about Shiva being the god of destruction. However, Chloe points out to her that she’s looking at it from a Western point of view. In Hinduism, destruction isn’t necessarily as a bad thing. Destruction can also mean rebirth, the loss of pride and ego, and change in general.
  • It seems that the Valkyrie Profile verse doesn't like Hel. She's the unseen Big Bad in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume.
  • Zeus: Master of Olympus: Subverted with Hades, who's one of the more useful gods, being present as lord of the Underworld and all the silver inside it. His temple creates veins of silver ore, he wanders around the city making tax collectors produce double (gives new meaning to the saying "Death and taxes", doesn't it?), praying to him gets you even more money, and his Hell Hound goes around eating troublemakers. Conversely, when pissed off he sends Cerberus at you or curses those same buildings, and worst of all, kills a large amount of walkers just by showing up. Thirteen Olympians (and Atlas) appear in the game, where they can be both helpful and inimical. Enemy gods are determined by the scenario, and can rampage through your city if you don't have a temple built in honor of a more powerful god to defeat him/her.

    Web Animation 
  • In Deathigner, all death deities aside from the titular, pacifist protagonist are depicted as assholes at best, and as murdering monsters at worst.
  • Averted in Overly Sarcastic Productions. Whenever Red summarizes a myth with Hades in it, she always portrays him as a fairly nice guy or the Only Sane Man.
    Red: Now, I only really like [the myth of Hades and Persephone] in its more modern interpretation where Persephone had a modicum of agency in the story and actually likes Hades, willingly becoming the queen of the underworld rather than just getting kidnapped and getting the munchies.
  • RWBY: In the fable "The Two Brothers," this was the problem the God of Darkness had. As the god of darkness, death, and destruction, humans were terrified of him, and he didn't help matters by creating the Grimm. But death and destruction are necessary for life, and all he really wanted was to be loved like his brother was. When Salem came to him and begged him to resurrect Ozma, he did so, happy to finally be able to give someone something they actually wanted. When he realized he had been tricked (Salem had gone to the God of Light first and been denied), he destroyed Ozma again, and worked with the God of Light to give Salem Complete Immortality as punishment. Notably, of the four divine Relics the gods created, his power resides not only in the Sword of Destruction but also the Crown of Choice. The power of choice is a very strong recurring element throughout the series, and this was the Relic that Ozma himself decided to watch over personally.
  • As it is based on Kid Icarus, Hades' Misguidance follows this trope too a T. Regardless of whatever issues the cast may have with eachother, everyone hates Hades (except maybe Pandora) and he's doing nothing to dissuade them. The show is called Hades' Misguidance after all.

    Web Comics 
  • Lampshaded on this page of the webcomic The Family Party by Agnosis. The gods are aware that Hades is actually quite a nice guy, being presented in other comics by the same author as a Workaholic with No Social Skills but also unfailingly dutiful and compassionate towards the dead, but the only (ex)human at the party freaks out. Similarly, while Hekate is presented as a goddess of witchcraft that summons ghosts in her cave and puts curses on people, the latter are justified and she's also caring and compassionate at the very least towards Demeter.
  • Jack, the assigned Grim Reaper, really doesn't like his job of (among with a whole list of other things) ripping lovers apart.
  • The Order of the Stick seemingly both discusses and subverts this trope with a good deal of Shown Their Work. Though the arguments put forward are kind of ruined by the revelation that the character making them is a vampire whose god demands mortal sacrifices. And then following on from the spoiler above, Hel turns out to be looking to try a Klingon Promotion, by having everything reset from scratch and letting her usurp Odin.
  • In Public Humiliation Hades is a pretty laid-back guy who spends most of his time partying on the Isle of the Blessed. But he doesn't really have any mortal worshipers. He's also the grandfather of the teenage necromancer protagonist, Lan.
  • An In-Universe example occurred in the backstory of Slightly Damned with one of the creator gods, Father Syndel who did just as much to create Medius and its inhabitants as Mother Gaia but he was shunned (likely due to the fact his demons torture the souls of sinful medians) while Gaia and her angels received most the praise. Eventually, he got fed up with it and started The Great War by making a deal with a power-hungry general and having his demons invade Medius. Subverted with the third god Death who doesn't seem to be viewed negatively and remained neutral in the war.
  • Defied in Lore Olympus, a modernized retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone - Hades is an awkward, lonely Nice Guy who adopts stray dogs and is painfully conscious of the more unfortunate implications of his feelings for Persephone. In this version the "abduction" isn't even intentional: he finds Persephone passed out drunk in his car due to a prank by a spiteful Aphrodite, puts her to bed in his guest room, and in the morning makes her coffee and drives her back to her apartment.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The main antagonists of Onyx Equinox are the Aztec gods of the Underworld. That said, they are both sympathetic.
  • Played straight in Justice League, where Hades might as well be Satan, and is possibly Wonder Woman's father. Subverted in a later episode when it is revealed he never wanted to leave Tartarus in the first place, he just wanted Diana's mother. When he is rescued from a usurper due to the Balance being disturbed, he comments on it when Diana frees him.
    Diana: If it were up to me, you would stay here. But even here there must be balance.
    Hades: Nobody ever appreciates your work until you're gone...
  • Mighty Max:
    • In one episode, a snake monster is trying to summon Kali, but she's only evil under his mind control. Once Max snaps her out of it (using an idol of Shiva, another Dark Is Not Evil god, and the husband of Kali in actual Hinduism to boot, she deals with the snake monster for them and leaves.
    • Another episode, "The Mummy's Hand," involves Isis trying to resurrect Osiris, and willing to chop off lots of hands in order to do it. When she finally manages to do it (with Max's hand, which thankfully doesn't need to be chopped off) Osiris actually chides her, saying that she went too far and forgot to treat mortals the way she was supposed to.
  • Subverted in Class of the Titans.
    • While Hades is kind of... swishy (and purple-skinned), he's actually a very friendly guy. He's unfailingly pleasant to the heroes, he loves his dog Cerberus, and he and Persephone absolutely adore one another.
    • Thanatos (the Greek god of death), Hades's subordinate, is sometimes used as a villain, but on these occasions, he usually turns out to be mind-controlled by Kronos; he outright states that he is effectively a True Neutral being and is compelled to obey whomever wears the Helmet of Darkness. He is otherwise a kindly bespectacled old man — who can transform into a bony horror with wings. And it should be admitted that he sometimes does seem to enjoy his job too much...
  • Played straight in Mummies Alive!, in which Anubis is a dim-witted villain who works alongside Set. In mythology, Set disowned him, since Anubis chose to side with Horus and helped Isis mummify Osiris and restore him.
  • In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, the Big Bad Sartana of the Dead is a skeletal necromancer who's the daughter of the death gods Xibalba and La Muerte, and was so Chaotic Evil she was permanently banished to the world of the living.
  • Family Guy parodies this trope. Death is a recurring character who hates his job but notes repeatedly that, like it or not, death is as much a part of life as birth. He's also portrayed as The Woobie, and is completely miserable because of his job. One episode focuses on Peter trying to help Death improve his life while still maintaining his duty.
  • Inverted in Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend. In the retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone, not only does Hades not kidnap Persephone at all, but he is portrayed as a perfectly nice guy, if socially awkward. Hades is completely innocent of any scheme to keep Persephone in the underworld forever and actually warns her that if she eats anything, she won't be allowed to leave. Instead, it's one of his minions who tricks her into staying, and when Hades finds out, he actually defies the law of the underworld to get Persephone back to her mother. When you add in the fact that other episodes do not shy away from showcasing the Jerkass tendencies of the other gods in the pantheon, Hades actually ends up as the nicest and most honorable deity in the whole series.
  • Regular Show portrays Death himself as a Badass Biker who always goes by his word. However, he's a bit of a Jerkass and sometimes a cheater in sports (using his powers to try to win a Bowling Tournament despite the rules saying no powers). But he's also solidly a good guy, having came to the aid of the Park several times over and is rather amicable with Mordecai and Rigby, especially since they're the only babysitters who've consistently been able to put his son, Thomas, to sleep at the end of Death's and his wife's dates. The only person he doesn't seem to like is Muscle Man. He also wants to reap Skips, who has eternal youth as part of an arrangement with eternal beings, and collect his soul but at worst he seems to treat that particular interest as going after a Worthy Opponent more than anything.
  • Averted in Gargoyles — while it's not particularly accurate to portray Anubis as The Grim Reaper (and also a member of The Fair Folk), he's an unabashedly True Neutral figure, neither sympathetic to the Emir's loss nor malicious about it. Then his powers get stolen by Jackal, and everyone gains a better appreciation for Anubis's impartiality.
  • The song Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm sing in The Flintstones episode "No Biz Like Show Biz" starts off lampshading this:
    Mommy told me something a little kid should know,
    It's all about the Devil, and how I learned to hate him so.
  • Kaeloo: Episode 127, where the characters play as Greek mythology characters, has the show's most villainous character, Mr. Cat, play the part of Hades. The episode is about Zeus (played by Kaeloo), with assistance from Hermes (played by Quack Quack), trying to save the flowers of Olympus when Mr. Cat/Hades takes their souls.
  • In Castlevania (2017): Death is actually just an ancient elemental spirit that feeds on the energy of death as opposed to an actual psychopomp, and he seeks to resurrect Dracula (without really owing him any loyalty) simply to feed on the carnage he leaves in his wake.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Everyone Hates Hades, Everybody Hates The Death God, Everyone Hates The Death God, Everybody Hates The God Of Death, Everyone Hates The God Of Death


AFK Arena - Intro

When Everybody Hates Hades in-universe, Hades notices; Because the Goddess of Life got all of the mortals' love and respect, the God of Death grew jealous and launched an assault on the world of Esperia.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / EverybodyHatesHades

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