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Evil Chancellor

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"Grand Viziers were always scheming megalomaniacs. It was probably in the job description: 'Are you a devious, plotting, unreliable madman? Ah, good, then you can be my most trusted advisor.'"

Sometimes it's the monarch/Head of State who's the Evil Overlord. And sometimes there's this trope, where instead of the Head of State being the person who has malicious intent, it's his adviser, assistant, second-in-command, or Head of Government (that is if the Head of State and Head of Government are separate positions, e.g. having both a President and a Prime Minister respectively). Most of the time he's actively scheming to discredit or usurp the throne, and may even be an agent sent for this purpose by an outside power. In other cases, he's perfectly content to be The Man Behind the Man and keeps the ruler around primarily as the figurehead for the ignorant masses and as the fall guy if something goes wrong. He can also tend to have more actual power and real influence than the Head of State, especially in cases where the government is a parliamentary system or a constitutional monarchy.


Sometimes called the Evil (Grand) Vizier instead, in which case he will spend a lot of time tapping his fingertips together and calling everyone "effendi". The "Evil High Priest" is a closely related phenomenon, with some Sinister Minister and Corrupt Church thrown in.

In stories set in Presidential democratic societies, an Evil Vice President may play the same role, although it is a lot less common. In the American political system in particular, there is a fairly legitimate reason why the vice president is an illogical position to be filled by someone evil: by default, the vice president (generally) has very little actual power, unless the president is incapacitated or has delegated significant amounts of formal authority to the vice president. However, if the Vice President is planning to have the President be assassinated or the President is an easily controlled fool, this trope would easily apply.


While Chancellors, Vice Presidents, and the like may not always be examples of this trope merely by having the job, the title "Grand Vizier" might as well just include "Evil" as part of it, in the eyes of English-speaking audiences, especially if the Vizier's name is some version of "Jafar". If you see a non-evil Grand Vizier, the author is probably playing with the trope... or you're talking about Real Life (the historical Ja'far ibn Yahya, while a Vizier, was not particularly Evil, and in general "vizier" is just the Persian-influenced Muslim world's word for "[government] minister"). The word "Chancellor" itself has also got a bad taste in English countries, due to one of the most famous real-life codifiers of the Evil Chancellor character.

Malicious Slander is a particular favorite of the Evil Chancellor.

As cliched as this trope may seem, it is often justified in that if anybody's going to usurp the reigning ruler through manipulation and intrigue, it's going to be the guy who actually has the authority to replace him. Part of the basis of this trope may also come from the context in which stories are written; in a monarchy, it can be dangerous to tell stories about an evil king, so pushing all the blame onto an evil adviser is an easy way out. This extends into political commentary as well — it is safer to vilify an adviser for hated policies than the leader themselves.

If only the King thinks the evil chancellor is his most trusted and loyal subject, he's a Horrible Judge of Character and a Clueless Boss. When only the protagonists see through the evil of this character, it's a Devil in Plain Sight. If he doesn't want to steal the throne himself, then his goal is almost certainly to turn the ruler he allegedly serves into a Puppet King.

This trope is the Evil Counterpart of The Good Chancellor. See also: The Evil Prince, who is usually also after the throne and rather less willing to remain in the shadows. In fantasy settings, will often overlap with an Evil Sorcerer; if his "official" job is to be the ruler's personal magic-user, then he's also the Court Mage. In settings with a strong Asian or Middle Eastern influence, expect overlap with Eunuchs Are Evil. Aspiring backstabbers may refer to the Evil Chancellor List. If the ruler the Evil Chancellor "serves" is also evil, that's The Starscream.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The Good Chancellor, Lady Macbeth (when it's the Queen/First Lady who's doing the scheming), Standard Royal Court and Deadly Decadent Court. The next steps up are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, Princely Young Man, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step down is The Brigadier. Also see Treacherous Advisor.

Compare Dragon with an Agenda.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mendoza from GARO The Animation is a royal adviser of the king who later takes the throne and forces the prince and his mother into hiding.
  • Seymour Cheese from Samurai Pizza Cats was a very overt example of this as well.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: After the Time Skip, Rossiu became a Well-Intentioned Extremist chancellor. And when he realizes what he's done, he almost kills himself. Simon has to punch him out of it through hyper space.
  • The Eunuchs in Code Geass R2 anointed a little girl as their figurehead Empress and oppressed the Chinese Federation under the pretense of divine right. Their haughty speech to Zero comparing citizens and soldiers to ants and toilet paper sums it up in a nutshell. Which is then broadcast to everyone.
    • Prince Schnizel; Emperor Charles might be a ruthless badass, but he was too busy with Project Geass to actually rule the empire, so Schneizel was technically in charge and secretly planned his own 'reforms' to Britannian society for when he eventually took the actual throne. With a space station that launched warp nukes, to be fired at his whim. Ultimately, Schnizel was merely The Dragon when compared to Charles' Gendo Impersonation, and becomes Dragon Ascendant because Lelouch bumped their father off.
  • He may not be a royal advisor (his leader is a Ninja boss, and later her granddaughter), but otherwise Tenzen Yakushiji from Basilisk fits the trope to a T.
  • Played straight with Prince Gihren Zabi, de facto Big Bad of Mobile Suit Gundam, who plays this role to his father, Sovereign Degwin Sodo Zabi, acting as his Prime Minister and the CINC of the army, while isolating his dad from the populace and the administration, leaving all the real power in his own hands. Degwin is aware of what is going on, but no longer has the power to act on it, and when he tries to make peace behind Gihren's back, his son has him killed. Degwin himself was this to Zeon Zum Deikun, before the latter's death and his own ascension to Evil Overlord.
  • Wiseman/Death Phantom, the true Big Bad of the second season of Sailor Moon plays the role of advisor/seer to Prince Diamond and the Black Moon Clan all the while using them for his own agenda.
  • Averted in The Cat Returns. The Cat King's adviser is more of a straight man to the mad king.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has Cosmo Entelecheia, a whole group of them, and they've been extremely successful so far, orchestrating a war between several nations.
  • Gargoyle from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is an uncommonly successful example of this trope. He actually pulled off a coup in his backstory.
  • In a filler arc of Naruto the circumstances of a daimyo's death and then that of his daughter raised concerns over treachery from within. This was further compounded by the presence of a vengeful apparition. The prime candidate was the daimyo's chief general. It turned out he was innocent; the guilty part was the other adviser who had passed himself off as a peaceful monk.
  • In the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Manga, Zant was said to be the late Twili King's young Aide. When the King's daughter, Midna, was chosen instead of Zant to lead due to the latter's desire for war, Zant made a deal with Ganon to seize power.
  • Lupin III:
    • The Castle of Cagliostro begins the story after the Count has taken power from the dead Duke who ruled. There's no suspicion raised In-Universe for why the Duke might've died in a huge blaze inside his Stone Castle, especially when the Count has a secret army, counterfeiting operations, and is called the "shadow" line of the family. The only member of the "light" line of the family is Princess Clarisse, and the Count rules as regent in her place.
    • There's another in the Lupin III vs. Detective Conan special. He's the Big Bad, because he murdered his Queen and the Prince Crown of his land, and attempts to murder the Sole Survivor of the royal family, the Broken Bird Princess. In this case he was never regent, merely next in line to the throne, and upset his advice wasn't being followed by the Queen.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor: Prime Minister Wang of the Holy Raalgon Empire. He's heavily implied to have been responsible for the death of the newly-crowned young Empress Goza XVI's father, hoping to take advantage of her naivete to force a war with the United Planets Space Force. When Azalyn proves that she can't be manipulated so easily, he plots a strategically-timed assassination for her as well.
  • Akame ga Kill!: Prime Minister Honest, hands down, is the ringleader of the fully corrupt capital. Technically The Emperor is in charge, but the prime minister pretty much orders the twelve year old into whatever political ordinances his syndicates require to grow and prosper while the poor boy is happily naïve to it all. No details yet on how good/evil the emperor really is or what the Macguffins have to do with ANY of this.

    Comic Books 
  • The French comic book character Iznogoud (from the creator of Asterix) is a comic exaggeration of this character type. A short, excitable character who's Grand Vizier to his cousin the Caliph of Baghdad, his sole purpose in life is to try and take the Caliph's place (as outlined in his Catchphrase "I want to be Caliph instead of the Caliph!"). Naturally, he never succeeds. The comics have been adapted into a TV series as well.
  • Tantri the Mantri in Tinkle digest, whose main goal is to kill Rajah Hooja and become the Rajah (based on Iznogoud). Naturally, he always fails, and injures himself. The Rajah is ignorant enough to believe that Tantri is a devoted servant for getting himself into such dire situations.
  • In Asterix and the Magic Carpet, Hoodunnit is the Grand Vizier of India, and plans to gain power once the only heir (Princess Orinjade) is sacrificed to the rain gods. (In a Shout-Out, he mentions his cousin, Iznogoud, and uses the phrase "I'll be Rajah instead of the Rajah.")
  • Averted and played straight with Araki, hereditary adviser and Chancellor to the Emperors and Empresses of the Shi'ar, who serves through a succession of clone bodies. He starts out a loyalist to D'Ken, but after he's sealed away he serves Empress Lilandra faithfully for years, up until he's killed by Cassandra Nova. The next Araki decides to betray Lilandra and restore D'Ken to the throne, and wipes out the Grey family bloodline to boot. He gets killed by Gladiator for his trouble.
  • Apocalypse has his own evil chancellor in Ozymandias. Old Ozy was cheated of his throne in Ancient Egypt by an upstart time traveler, and after an attempt at revenge made him an immortal living statue, Apocalypse took him on as an advisor and, frankly, slave. The twist is that while he's treacherous it's probably Apocalypse who's more evil.
  • Yusuf, Sinbad's advisor, in Fables.
  • Oddly enough, Doctor Robotnik (and after his disintegration, Doctor Eggman) in the Archie Comics version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Before becoming the Mad Scientist (or, perhaps, concurrent with being such) and the Evil Overlord, Robotnik served the King of Acorn as his chief advisor and war minister... only to turn on him after the Great War was over.
  • Doctor Doom was one of these, then he orchestrated a couple of robot doubles and waited for a death or two, and had a robot double prince give all the power to him.
  • In Legacy, Darth Wyyrlok is an Evil Chancellor paired with an Evil Overlord - and he's an Evil Sorcerer to boot! He winds up betraying his Master, but it's something of a subversion of this trope- he does it not (primarily) out of ambition, but from a devotion to Lord Krayt's dream of a unified Galactic Empire which he himself has abandoned to pursue personal goals.
  • For a while in The Mighty Thor prior to Siege, Loki was the Evil Chancellor for the new Asgardian prince Balder who, after a good half-century of stories, should really have known better.
  • Deputy Chief Judge Martin Sinfield in Judge Dredd is this trope to the current Chief Judge, Dan Francisco. While Francisco is somewhat idealistic and does want to improve conditions for humans and mutants alike, but at the same time easily manipulated, Sinfield is a cynical bastard who is only interested in his own power, and has used his influence to carry out some deeds of questionable legitimacy.
  • In Pax Americana #1, the Vice President is revealed to be the story's evil mastermind, trying to prevent the President from being revived from the dead and thereby the best shot at world peace simply so he can be President.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Bruct, who gets elevated into position of D'Tasloo Parva (the Sangtee Empire's equivalent of a Chancellor/Cheif Advisor) after Wonder Woman captured A'iir, tried to kill the emperor at the first sign that things might go south, clearly stating that he's wanted to do so for years and now that he has an excuse, however flimsy, that it would be for the benifit of the empire he's taking it.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the original Buck Rogers comic, Oggo was the corrupt prime minister of the Mongol Empire under the Celestial Mogul. The Mogul was actually a Reasonable Authority Figure, but he had allowed Oggo the freedom to run the empire as he wished, while the Mogul puttered about with scientific research, foolishly confident that Oggo was running things justly and fairly.

    Fan Works 
  • Vicegerent Zathir in Ask a Pony's Ask Genie Twilight.
  • Chancellor Oznabrag from Super Milestone Wars.
  • In Sabaku on DA's remarkably mature Ben 10 fanfic set in the future, the evil adult form of Kenny, called Kenneth has a scheming Evil Chancellor named Kiyomori Taira, based off the rather villainous Kiyomori from history. He also has skills as an Evil Sorcerer and is blatantly more powerful than Kenneth, as seen in ArcadiusD's Time of the Serpent continuation fic.
  • The incarnation of Ganondorf in Zelda and the Manacle of Cahla is Chancellor Dragmire. He turned Hyrule into The Empire after the King passed, is dead set on turning Prince Link into a Puppet King, and makes Zelda out to be a wanted radicalist. He's actually the Ganondorf of an alternate timeline impersonating the real, heroic Chancellor Ganondorf.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, the griffon Chancellor Papillon fits this trope to a T. It's even hinted at he may have been responsible for a mass famine to take even more power for himself, eventually crowning himself emperor.
  • Shimmering Ruby from The Last Crystal Unicorn
  • Sombra acted as this in The God Empress of Ponykind, eventually killing the rulers of the Crystal Kingdom and naming himself king in their place.
  • Sima Yi to Cao Cao and his descendants in Farce of the Three Kingdoms. He's quite open about this with Anti-Hero Evil Overlord Cao Cao, who doesn't mind at all. However, despite being a Dastardly Whiplash, he actually isn't particularly malevolent until he gets unjustly demoted after a very flimsy Frame-Up.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: In the non-cannon fic "Nightmares Yet to Come", there's Luna's major domo Midnight, who is either willingly or unwillingly (it's unclear) part of a conspiracy that involves abducting ponies. That said, there's no evil when she's on the job itself, by all indications. It's just when she's off the clock problems start.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jafar, from Disney's Aladdin is one who lives a double-life even inside the palace, enough that he often has to abruptly close the hidden entrances that lead to his secret alchemical lab to prevent anyone (especially the Sultan) from discovering them, much to the chagrin of whoever happens to get stuck inbetween the door (say Iago). Though the Sultan eventually catches on, he manages to take over anyway using the Genie.
  • The Royal Wizard from The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland is evil. He kidnapped the Princess of Wonderland, because if the princess can't inherit the throne, then the wizard legally becomes King. The vizier from Care Bears Nutcracker Suite is a clone of the wizard. He wants to take over Toy Land and ruin Christmas. He forced the prince to flee. The prince teams up with the Care Bears to save Christmas.
  • There's also Yzma from the Disney film The Emperor's New Groove. The thing is, she actually succeeds in overthrowing Kuzco shortly after he fires her, but Kuzco at the beginning of the film is such a jerk that his subjects don't seem to notice the difference (or even care). It's also implied that Yzma's the reason why Kuzco's such a jerk in the first place:
    Yzma: Does he have any idea of who he's dealing with?! How could he do this to me? Why, I practically raised him!
    Kronk: Yeah, you'd think he would've turned out better.
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, Prof. Ratigan's evil plot is to replace the Queen with a robot duplicate and install himself as her new royal consul.
  • Subverted in The Magic Voyage; there's an Obviously Evil-looking advisor to King Ferdinand who always tells the king not to trust Columbus, but after the king agrees to fund the voyage, he never shows up again.
  • Tzekel-Kan in The Road to El Dorado. His actual title is High Priest and is more of a rival authority figure, but he's a major advisor to the ruler of El Dorado and is scheming to take it over.
  • Sir Hiss from Disney's Robin Hood is actually this to Prince John. Subverted however, by the fact that Prince John is already evil from the start, in fact much more evil than Hiss, and it is only in matters of intelligence that he contributes, not that John appreciates it.
  • Zig-Zag from the masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler. And voiced by the master of such characters. Ironically, he is actually The Dragon and not the Big Bad.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ali G In Da House: The Prime Minister is actually a laid-back kind of guy who's amenable to Ali's ridiculous ideas on how to make politics "sexy" again, but the villainous Deputy Prime Minister who volunteered Ali in the first place is involved in a real estate corruption scheme.
  • In Anonymous there's William Cecil and his son and successor Robert Cecil, who in Real Life were the chancellors in all but name to Elizabeth I and James I, respectively, portrayed here as wicked, self-interested schemers who torpedo Elizabeth's chosen successor in order to safeguard their own power.
  • Dave features a more logical position for this role in the American government: the President's Chief of Staff. Inverted at the beginning of the movie, as the real President was as crooked as his CoS, but once the title character is ordered to stand in long-term for the secretly comatose POTUS, he's expected to dance on the Chief's strings.
  • Sir Francis Walsingham in Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age is entirely loyal to his queen, but plays the Evil Chancellor role to the extent that he is willing to do the necessary dirty work for which her conscience is too tender.
  • A Kid in King Arthur's Court: Lord Belasco. When a character is first introduced as the king's trusted and loyal adviser, and the very first shot of the movie that he's in shows him as a tall dark man with black robes, a black horse, black hair with white streaks, a sinister smile, and ominous background music, it's just insulting to our intelligence. He's like Jafar, except he's not hypnotizing the king, so the king really has no freaking excuse for trusting him.
  • The scheming Empress Dowagers in The Last Emperor qualify. Actually, so do the Kuomintang, the Japanese and the Communists, seeing that this film details the life of a very marginalized and lonely man.
  • In Miller's Crossing Johnny Casper's chief muscle Eddie Dane combines this trope with that of The Dragon, since he relies more on strength and bullets than brains, which he resents. Tom Regan would be Leo's The Good Chancellor (as much as a gangster who makes recommendations on hits, and sleeps with his bosses wife can be good).
    • Dane may be a vicious bastard, but he was a loyal dragon; it was just dumb romantic indiscretion that made it easy for Tom to convince Casper he was the Treacherous Advisor. If anything, the Tom was the Evil Chancellor; he may be the protagonist, but he certainly wouldn't believe himself "good" for any of the things he'd done.
  • John Heard's secretly-competent version of Dan Quayle in My Fellow Americans is an Evil Vice President variation.
  • Sinbad of the Seven Seas has its own Grand Vizier Jaffar, an Evil Sorcerer usurping the throne from his good-natured boss.
  • Star Wars: Big Bad Palpatine is not an example despite holding the rank of "Chancellor" in the prequel trilogy — that's the title of the head of the Republic, so he's actually a President Evil.
  • The Ten Commandments: has Jannes the High Priest of Egypt, as played by Douglas Dumbrill, for although he is loyal to the pharaohs he serves, he clearly has his own agenda, and it is his advice at the beginning of killing the Hebrew male babies that endangers the hero Moses.
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940): Jaffar, starts out as an Evil Vizier, although he does wind up usurping the throne rather early in the film.
  • In Yamato Takeru the mystic Tsukinowa serves as chief advisor to the Emperor of Yamato, turning him against his son Ousu/Yamato Takeru while secretly bringing about the return of Tsukuyomi, whom he is a sapient fragment of.
  • The Vizier to the King of Sodom in the movie Year One definitely counts.
    • He never seems to actually do anything evil, apart from opportunistically grab the crown and then put it down and run for his life. He's a parody of stock evil vizier traits, but without the actual villainy. The princess even keeps him around.
  • Sir John Conroy, advisor to the Duchess of Kent and therefore nominally the guardian of the underaged Princess Victoria, in The Young Victoria. This was another case of Truth in Television.

  • Lord Orthallen from Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series. With the twist that three of the books where he's the secret enemy were written after the book where he's (permanently) dealt with since they were prequels. Orthallen is also interesting in that while he seems to always be peripherally involved in almost every form of corruption in Valdemar which occured during his career, most of what he's involved in doesn't clearly get him anything he doesn't already have "honestly" - unlike most of the foreigners trying to control the kingdom he either sponsors, supports or works for, Orthallen seems aware of how impractical the goal is. The motivations behind his persistence (beyond the ongoing need to cover up his previous actions), and whether he's entirely in charge of his own activities, remain ambiguous to the end.
  • In the Arabian Nights tale "The Story of the Slave-Girl Anis al-Jalis and Nur al-Din Ali ibn-Khaqan", Jafar (see Exceptions below) helps Harun al-Rashid take down an evil vizier who's preying on the king and people of Basra and persecuting the titular Nur al-Din Ali (whose father was a good vizier).
  • In Dante's The Divine Comedy, the 8th Bolgia (ditch) of the Eighth circle of Hell is reserved for "Evil Counselors," that is, the officers and advisors of rulers who mislead or betray their masters. He includes examples of his era in the poem. When Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote the novel Inferno, doing their own take on Dante, the most poignant example was Benito Mussolini, who, as chancellor of Italy, turned that country to Fascism.
  • Doubly subverted in War and Peace with Speransky, who most characters assume to be an Evil Chancellor until Prince Andrei meets with him and finds him to be a pleasant man only concerned for the betterment of Russia. He is later Put on a Bus when he's discharged from the sovereign's court on charges of corruption and treason.
  • Parodied in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of books, in which the Grand Vizier is automatically assumed to be evil, regardless of the culture involved or the circumstances of meeting them.
    • In Guards! Guards!, the Supreme Grand Master, the leader of the plot to overthrow Vetinari by summoning a dragon, is eventually revealed to be Lupine Wonse, Vetinari's secretary. Even if his job as secretary mainly involves taking notes, it's notable that Vetinari asks him for advice and Wonse seems to abuse his position by providing questionable suggestions about the dragon situation.
    • Pyramids has the hidebound High Priest Dios. He doesn't like the way the new ruler, Pteppic, is trying to run things, but doesn't try to overthrow him; he just "interprets" the commands of the Pharaoh so that things will be run the way they've always been run anyway. Also, he's not really evil, so much as very much steeped in the country's traditions to the point that they are second nature to him.
    • Sourcery has Abrim, who wanted to be a wizard, but was considered too mentally unstable. He actually succeeds in his task of overthrowing the Seriph, but is later killed in a battle with Unseen University.
    • In Mort, there's a scene where the Royal Vizier for the Agatean Empire decides to try and assassinate the country's child emperor, who has gotten old enough to question some of the vizier's evil rules. Unfortunately for the vizier, the emperor is very clever indeed, and uses his understanding of social niceties to force the vizier to kill himself.
    • Men at Arms: The implication at the end is that, after Carrot has saved the city, he could legitimately assert his role as heir to the throne and take the long-dormant Kingship. Vetinari hints that this is indeed the case and he could not prevent Carrot. But the unspoken hint is that King Carrot would in that case need a skilled prime minister to advise him in how to run a city in peacetime and he, Vetinari, is quite fortuitously skilled in these matters.... both agree to stick with the status quo and carry on doing what each is best at. The King protects and serves his people as a policeman; the Patrician runs the city on behalf of a king who may one day return to ask his Steward what he's been doing with it.
    • Interesting Times:
      • A prime example would be Lord Hong, who was Grand Vizier of the Agatean Empire and probably one of the most powerful and dangerous figures to appear in the Discworld series. He attempts to defy this trope, at least in the sense of striving to be sane and self-controlled. He's arguably Vetinari, minus Vetinari's redeeming feature of caring about his city. This being Discworld, Rincewind and Cohen lampshade the hell out of him.
      Rincewind: Grand Viziers are always —
      Cohen: — complete and utter bastards. Dunno why. Give 'em a turban with a point in the middle and their moral wossname just gets eaten away. I always kill 'em soon as I meet 'em. Saves time later on.
      • At the end, the new emperor, appoints Twoflower as Grand Vizier, on the basis of him knowing nothing about the role.
    • The Last Hero: Twoflower betrays his emperor and reveals information liable to get him killed. The twist is Cohen has embarked on a project which would kill Discworld (including Cohen).
    • The Discworld Roleplaying Game subverts it with the Grand Vizier of Al-Ybi, a sensible and unambitious accountant, who has reluctantly grown a Beard of Evil and practiced his sinister smile, because that's what's expected. He views the whole thing as an unnecessary distraction from balancing the budget.
  • Inverted in A Song of Ice and Fire: Tywin Lannister is highly competent and (though Tywin's a bit of a bastard) he is trying to do what is best for his House. Unfortunately, both of the kings Tywin serves are products of incest and dangerously insane—one of them tried to burn the city down instead of letting his enemies have it, and the other is a young sociopath who is heavily into revenge and managed to cause a continent-spanning war through an act of pointless, idiotic malice.
    • However Tywin doing what is best for his House is debatable, considering it becomes clearer throughout the books he was a horribly abusive parent who has left all of his children damaged, and that his capacity for violent overreactions carries through to his children and has turned many people against the Lannisters. For example when his youngest son Tyrion married a crofter's daughter Tywin had her gang-raped and forced Tyrion to participate, then spread the lie she was really a whore.
    • Qyburn is an aversion. He's quite shifty, he cuts open people for fun and has an unhealthy interest in reanimating the dead, but by the end of the fourth book he's the only one of Cersei's advisers who is still somewhat loyal to her.
    • And then there's Varys, who arguably fits in the school of the "scheming eunuchs" mentioned below. No one knows who the fuck Varys is playing for, but everyone bets on "himself." Varys himself claims he's doing it "for the realm". It seems finally revealed at the end of "A Dance with Dragons" Varys has been hoping to place his own candidate on the throne.
    • Littlefinger qualifies, whoever he's serving at the time.
    • Tywin's son Tyrion is a subversion: he is perceived as this by the common people of King's Landing, and is blamed for the crimes and mistakes of King Joffrey and Queen Cersei, when in fact he is doing everything in his power to rule justly and well. This has been all too common in Real Life (see below). Of course him being good is debatable as he knows how monstrous his family is yet still helps to keep them in power.
    • Stannis gets this from the R'hllor Priestess Melissandre, who is interested in burning people. Played with in that she believes Stannis is The Chosen One of her religion who will save the world from The Great Other. She is countered by Ser Davos Seaworth, a loyal, honest and decent former Smuggler who Stannis knighted. Stannis names them his Hand as he values their honest counsel.
      • Stannis considers the Florents this. His wife's uncle Lord Alester Florent, who he names his Hand, tries to make peace terms with Tywin behind Stannis' back, and gets burnt. Another of Stannis' uncles-in-law, Ser Axell Florent, a R'hllor fanatic, tries to get named Hand and favours brutal courses of action. Stannis decides to name Davos as Hand when they criticize Axell's ideas.
  • Gríma Wormtongue of The Lord of the Rings succeeds in effectively ruling Rohan by manipulating the ailing King Théoden... for a while.
    • Sauron becomes this to the King of Númenor in The Silmarillion. Using the Númenóreans fear of death and envy of the Elves' immortality, he convinces them to worship the fallen Vala Morgoth and to attack the Valar's sanctuary of Valinor, resulting in Eru (God) sinking Númenor.
  • Lloyd Alexander:
    • Cabbarus in Westmark manipulates the king's grief over his dead daughter... but it all gets blown sky high when the daughter turns out to be Not Quite Dead. In the sequel, the king of the next country over has an Evil Uncle doubling as an Evil Chancellor, too.
    • In The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha, a boy falls asleep and wakes up to discover that he has been mistaken for the ruler of a delightfully Arabesque kingdom complete with not-so-delightful Vizier. Kasha later deliberately averts the trope by appointing the only person he trusts, a somewhat seedy character, to be his vizier. Unsurprisingly, he does a better job than the original Evil Vizier.
    • In The Castle of Llyr, the third book of The Chronicles of Prydain, in which Magg is chancellor to the kindly King of Mona. Unfortunately for King Rhuddlum, Magg's real loyalty lies with the wicked Queen Achren, who has promised him a kingdom if he helps her kidnap Princess Eilonwy.
  • In the Stephen King novel The Eyes of the Dragon, the king's trusted advisor and magician Flagg plots to assassinate the king and frame the elder (and wiser) prince for the murder. The same character, under the alias "Marten Broadcloak", played the same role in the court of Gilead in the backstory of The Dark Tower series, while at the same time also playing evil vizier to Gilead's rival, John Farson, under the name "Walter O'Dim". All three of these roles, in addition to several others, are assumed by Flagg in his capacity as right-hand man to the Crimson King, to whom he also plays The Starscream.
  • The Word Bearers' Chaplain Erebus fills this role in the Horus Heresy series of Warhammer 40,000 novels. Somewhat different in that rather than scheming to kill Warmaster Horus, Erebus schemes to corrupt him.
  • In The Elenium trilogy by David Eddings, the churchman Annias serves as this trope to King Aldreas, the weak-minded ruler of Elenia. Annias needs to control the crown while he works on becoming Archprelate (the story's equivalent of the Pope), and to that end he convinces the king that it's okay to sleep with his own sister, Arissa, who is the mother of Annias's son Lycheas. It keeps Aldreas distracted.
    • The sequel series The Tamuli reveals exactly how he ended up like that: at the hands at another Evil Chancellor who is also a Big Bad Friend to a major character. And behind ultimately everything and why? Because he's in love with said friend.
  • In one book of Christopher Stasheff's A Wizard in Rhyme series, the title character visits a country which has an evil queen who is descended from an Evil Chancellor who usurped the throne. The Chancellor's name was Reiziv.
  • In Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Pryrates gleefully occupies this role to the ill-fated King Elias. In the end, he turns out to be The Dragon to the Storm King.
  • Associated Space features Ursula Urquart, leader of the loyal opposition, who is apparently out to either take over, or secede her worlds from the Terran Associated States.
  • In One Good Knight, part of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, there's an Evil Chancellor. He's lampshaded with a line somewhat like "if the king's advisor was a magician, then according to the Tradition he must be scheming after the throne." Additionally, he and the queen are a couple. He's planning to betray her.
  • General Zhi Zhong in Lords of the Bow is, for the most part, loyal to Emperor Wei, but outside the royal court openly considers him a foolish weakling. When his army is crushed by Genghis Khan at the Battle of the Badger's Mouth, he returns to Yenking, kills the emperor, and installs Wei's seven-year-old son, Xuan, as the new emperor, with himself as regent. His subsequent refusal to surrender to Genghis Khan quickly leads Yenking to starvation and eventually cannibalism.
  • The Kingpriest in Dragonlance was unlucky enough to be stuck with two of these guys — the conniving Elven ambassador Quarath and the enigmatic Evil Sorcerer Fistandantilus. The two are often contrasted, as the former is a Smug Snake who plays politics for fun and profit, while the latter is a Magnificent Bastard with far more... epic ambitions.
  • The Sword of Shannara has the evil advisor Stenmin, who drugs and manipulates the usurper Palance Buckhannah while his brother Balinor is away on the quest.
  • In The Wheel of Time, several Forsaken become the embodiment of this trope once they're free. Semirhage as Lady Anath, the Seanchan Imperial heir's most trusted advisor and Rahvin as Lord Gaebril, the Queen of Andor's lover and avisor are the most obvious example, but Bel'al and Sammael could possibly qualify as wellnote .
    • There are Messana and Aran'gar who control minions (Alviarin and Sheriam, respectively) as the rival Amyrlins' Keepers of the Chronicles.
    • In the backstory, this was Mordeth's role in the city-state of Aridhol, leading to its transformation into Shadar Logoth. His new incarnation as Padan Fain pulls this trick several times, to the Seanchan High Lord Turak, Lord-Captain-Commander Pedron Niall of the Children of the Light, Elaida's White Tower, and Lord Riatin. All associations are brief, as Fain's MO is to manipulate, use, and abandon authority figures in the process of getting what he wants.
  • Referenced in Neverwhere (book only): Richard calls the Marquis de Carabas the "psychotic grand vizier" to Door. While certainly a scheming Magnificent Bastard who's only on the heroes' side for his own good, he doesn't actually live up to the trope and betray Door.
  • Chancellor Urtica from Mark Charan Newton's Legends of the Red Sun series is a textbook example of this trope. In the first book alone he was able to depose the empress he serves by framing her for attempted genocide of refugees (planned by him no less!) who seek to enter her city. Oh, and he is also the head of an outlawed cult that will follow his every order.
  • Count Fenring in Dune. In his case, his chief motive is My Master, Right or Wrong, and he is not an unsympathetic figure.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Mayors": Prince Regent Wienis often gives advice to his nephew, King Lepold. Some of the advice has been to attack Terminus, and sometimes he hints that the Hunting "Accident" which killed King Leopold's father might have been arranged and the same could happen to Lepold if he doesn't go along with Wienis's plans.
    • "The General (Foundation)": Privy Secretary Brodrig provides an unusual inversion because he is as selfish and scheming as any other member of Emperor Cleon II's Decadent Court, but because everyone aside from Cleon hates him, he is also the only utterly loyal and helpful member as a result. He's never really given an opportunity to betray Cleon II (and he's arrested and executed for conspiracy to commit treason before he can do more than dream of it).
    The low-born, faithful Brodrig; faithful because he was hated with a unanimous and cordial hatred that was the only point of agreement between the dozen cliques that divided his court.
    Brodrig — the faithful favorite, who had to be faithful, since unless he owned the fastest speed-ship in the Galaxy and took to it the day of the Emperor's death, it would be the radiation-chamber the day after.
    • Prelude to Foundation: Chetter Hummin manages to convince Hari Seldon that Eto Demezrel, who is Emperor Cleon I's chief of staff, is working only to selfishly profit from Seldon's recent "psychohistory" paper. The audience sees Demerzel encouraging the emperor to believe that killing Seldon is preferable to allowing him to work for any other faction in the empire. Chetter and Demerzel are the same character.
  • Harald: Andrew to King James. Unusual in that James has a perfectly good reason to trust him.
    James: While I live, Andrew is my right hand. If I die, my uncle's boy inherits and Andrew goes back to being one more southern lord with better birth than land. He has no reason to seek my life, and much to guard it.
  • The Sano Ichiro series has Chamberlain Yanagisawa, who knows exactly what the Shogun wants to hear so he can get what he wants. Although based on a real historical figure, the book version has received a big Historical Villain Upgrade
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Cao Cao might be the original example. At any rate, he was certainly a chancellor to the emperor, and traditionally depicted as an evil schemer.
  • Conan the Barbarian has dealt with some of these, most notably Nabonidus the Red Priest in Rogues in the House.
  • Chinese senior minister Zhang Han San in the Jack Ryan novels is this. Appearing at first to be a high ranking spy or diplomat (U.S. intelligence wasn't even aware he existed), he is eventually revealed in The Bear and the Dragon to be the power behind the throne in Beijing, controlling government policy through his relations with the military, state security, and the puppet Premier.
  • Kasreyn of the Gyre in the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, who is also an Evil Sorcerer. He won a place at the court of the gaddhi of Brathairealm by imprisoning the Brathair's ancestral enemies, the Sandgorgons, in a magical whirlwind and served as kemper (essentially prime minister) to generations of ''gaddhis'' until the Brathair government was entirely wrapped around his finger and the current gaddhi is pretty much a walking rubberstamp for whatever Kasreyn wants done.
  • Kimrek in The Klingon Art of War, the chief advisor to the rulers of the Tenka Plains who arranged the death of those rulers before serving as regent for their young son, convincing the boy to hand him ever more power while poisoning him against his own capability to rule.
  • The President's Vampire series has Les Wyman as a Vice-President version of this trope. A self-serving egotist, he's been in the pocket of the Shadow Company in exchange for promises of power, and is all too happy to do things like help obstruct Cade's investigations of the Company's activities, give them locations of Cade's safe houses so they can try to kill him, and helping arrange an attack on the White House. At the end of the third book, however, President Curtis lets him know that he knows what he's been up to, and intends to cut him loose once the upcoming election is over. At which point Wyman kills Curtis in a way that looks like a smoking-induced heart attack, allowing him to become President Evil.
  • A Practical Guide To Evil:
    • Chancellor is one of the Evil names and falls under all the standard stereotypes of this trope as a result. The current Empress was well aware of how disruptive this could be and it's now considered treason to even claim the Name.
    • Starter villain Mazus aspired to take this Name, going as far as hiring bandits to steal the taxes due to the Empress. It didn't end well for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 has had several evil Vice Presidents, the best example being Charles Logan, who was merely incompetent as a vice president but became evil upon his ascension.
    • Played straight and subverted by Noah Daniels. It's made clear he was only on the ticket to add national defense creds. Turns out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist bent on nuking the Mideast for whatever flimsy justification he can get away with, but when he ascends to power the responsibilities of the office temper his views and he ends up making peace, then giving up the office at the next election.
    • 24 also subverted the trope in season 5; when Vice President Hal Gardner first appears on the show, he's set up to appear to viewers to be The Man Behind the Man. Eventually, it turns out that Gardner is completely unaware of the plot unfolding around him, and it's the president who's calling the shots.
  • Babylon 5 had Vice President Clark of the Earth Alliance, who was a front man for the Shadows and arranged the assassination of the President so he could step in and run Earth to their specifications.
  • Bai Yue is this in Chinese Paladin. The politics of the situation are played with slightly, though; Bai Yue's popularity is the reason he is given the position, but he is by no means the King's sole advisor, and both the The Good Chancellor and the General actively work to prevent him becoming the power behind the throne.
  • Doctor Who: Subverted in "The Five Doctors". The "treacherous" counselor is actually innocent and has been set up to take the fall by the President himself.
  • The Event features an Evil Vice President in Raymond Jarvis, who makes the go-ahead call to assassinate the president. However, he thinks he's doing the right thing.
    • Plus, he himself is just the puppet of the real villain, Dempsey.
      • But, maybe Dempsey isn't such a clear-cut villain after all, and, anyway, Jarvis clearly doesn't learn his lesson from the first assassination attempt and conspires with Sophia to take another crack at it.
  • Inverted in the Farscape arc "Look at the Princess" - Rygel becomes the secretly good advisor to the evil queen.
  • Subverted in the Flash Gordon series. Rankol is an evil, hero-torturing cybernetic mad scientist whose experiments have endangered two worlds. And he is still aghast at most of the stuff his boss does on a weekly basis. He does work for Ming the Merciless.
  • Game of Thrones: Tywin Lannister deconstructs the trope quite thoroughly. Despite being very much a terrible father and The Unfettered, he is also extraordinarily competent and committed to doing what he thinks is best for the dynasty he shares with his king.
  • Francis Urquhart in House of Cards (UK). Throughout the first part of the story he appears to be the faithful ally and Chief Whip to Prime Minister Henry Collingridge, all the while plotting the PM's downfall. Ironically, when Collingridge is forced to resign he throws his support behind Urquhart's own campaign to become PM, still completely unaware of who his betrayer actually was.
    • His American counterpart, Frank Underwood, is exactly the same. As House Majority Whip and later Vice-President, he presents himself as a strong ally and advisor of the President, but manipulates him in order to weaken and humiliate his administration to the point of resigning, allowing Frank to take his place.
  • I, Claudius has a subversion in its presentation of Narcissus and other freedmen advisors of Claudius. These individuals were chancellors of the original kind, highly educated former slaves or the children of slaves who were hated by Rome's aristocrats for their influence over Claudius and probably prompted some of his more unpleasant actions. However, they were completely loyal to Claudius and thus more akin to the Poisonous Friend trope.
  • Jim Profit is an Evil Vice President of Acquisitions. Profit's lack of scruples and continued success eventually allows him to become CEO Charles Grayson's right hand man, who's almost as corrupt as he is.
  • On Stargate SG-1, Senator Kinsey eventually becomes the Vice President version of this trope near the end of Season Seven, thanks to backing from the Trust. Hints are dropped that he eventually plans on having the President assassinated and replacing him, but thankfully before that happens, the President fires him in a Moment of Awesome.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Haman from the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible was a Persian minister who tried to convince his king to exterminate the Jewish population that was scattered in the Persian empire. Since the queen was secretly Jewish (and her uncle had saved the king's life), this did not go well for him. He is probably one of the oldest in the book, as well as one of the most evil.
  • Sibich, chancellor for king Ermanerich in the legend of Dietrich of Bern. Among other things, he manages to get the king's sons and nephews killed.
  • The few appearances/mentions of the angel Mastema describe him like this, as the angel of disaster and the father of all evil yet also a "flatterer of God". He's the guy who advised God to test Abraham by telling him to kill his son. The role of God's "tester and tempter of humanity" is basically the same as the pre-fall Satan, but relatively little was ever written on the Mastema identity, so he comes off as an evil advisor as opposed to Satan's "doing God's dirty job".

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss episode, "The King's Beard", Yertle the Turtle acts as the trusted advisor to two different kings sharing the same beard; King Noogle of Nug and King Lindy of Lime. This is all part of his plan to put the two kingdoms at war so that he can wear the beard and rule both kingdoms.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Iblis, the demonic Grand Vizier of Vanna, ended up being a treacherous chancellor. On the one hand he was behind the equally villainous Sultana Adela's rise to power and did his best to aid her over the years, a job in which he succeeded admirably. However, in the end he betrayed Adela during the battle against the Grand Alliance and revealed that he had ultimately been working for the demonic Southern Horde with the sole intention of weakening Vanna from within for his true masters' upcoming invasion. He had thus been playing both Adela and the Alliance against each other while furthering his own goals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons Al-Qadim setting, A Dozen and One Adventures boxed set. In the city of Al-Anwahr, the treacherous vizier Zeenab tricked Amakim Ibn Issad into overthrowing his brother King Azaltin so Zeenab could steal the book "Eleven Baneful Gates".
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • In Time Streams, Radiant is being manipulated by one of these. Turns out her right-hand man is actually a Phyrexian sleeper agent.
    • In the Odyssey Cycle, Ambassador Laquatus plays this role to Emperor Aboshan.
  • Classic Traveller, Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #12 Amber Zone article "Royal Hunt". Hamir is the trusted royal adviser of the Potentate of the planet Krajraha. He is plotting with the corporation Nusku Trade LIC to assassinate the Potentate (and the PCs guarding him) so that the company can mine the valuable minerals topoline and athast found on Krajraha.
  • Exalted:
    • Played with for the Usurpation. During the First Age, the Sidereal Exalted were known as "the viziers", they advised the Solar Exalted ruling elite, and they did set up an elaborate scheme to betray them and take over the world. The twist is that they did not do it For the Evulz or even for personal power, but because the Solar themselves were becoming mad and evil and the Sidereal saw their removal as the only sure way to save the world. Also, the Lunar Exalted, who were known as the "viceroys" or "stewards" and were the true second in command after the Solars (whereas the Sidereals were advisors), did not betray them; most of them fought to death for their overlords, and the rest fled and fell back on guerilla tactics.
    • Played straight for the Primordial War. The gods were created by the Primordial to look after the world and manage it while they were busy playing the Games of Divinity and doing whatever things the Primordials deemed more interesting than ruling Creation. They got fed up being underlings and technicians. They rebelled. They won.
  • An occupational hazard for every Martian Prince or Princess in Rocket Age.
  • BattleTech has Stephan Amaris AKA The Usurper. Adviser to the First Lord of the Star League, when the title passed to Richard Cameron, who was a child at the time, Stephan set himself up as a friend. It didn't take him long to convince Richard of his "dues" as First Lord and get the impressionable youth isolated from all other influences. Then Stephan personally shot Richard in the head and overthrew the Terran Hegemony government. Four hundred years after his death, both the Inner Sphere and the Clans still consider him to be one of the most hated and reviled people of all time.
  • Expect to encounter them in Tales of the Arabian Nights. One is evil enough to get you thrown in the dungeon and all your property confiscated, just because you broke an obscure law against eating dates out of a leather bag. (...It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context, honestly. This game is kind of weird.)
  • The Pathfinder book Ultimate Intrigue introduces a character archetype called the Vizier, a variant Mesmerist who specialized in manipulating their own allies. They get special abilities with names like Insidious Influence and Power Behind the Throne. Although you could play as one, it's pretty clear that the developers intended this archetype more for NPCs.

  • Phillip Ridley's play 'Feathers In The Snow' has two evil advisors. One of which tortures the main character's father and the other convinces the king to banish the main character to a distant island along with her followers. Both can be said to be Affably Evil
  • In Der Ring des Nibelungen, Gunther's half-brother Hagen plays this role. He causes Siegfried to be given a love potion so he falls in love with Gutrune, Gunther's sister, meaning Siegfried captures his love Brünnhilde for Gunther, all as part of his plot to get the Ring of Power. He finally kills Siegfried, then when Gunther disputes his claim on the ring kills him.

    Video Games 
  • Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear makes this trope his identity.
  • The medieval chancellor of the royal family of Guardia in Chrono Trigger is kidnapped and impersonated by a vicious monster, Yakra. Meanwhile, his modern-day counterpart is a paranoiac who sentences Crono to death for "kidnapping" the princess and disorderly conduct, and later puts the King himself to trial. He is, in fact, a descendant of Yakra who impersonates the modern-day chancellor in order to get revenge on Crono for defeating his ancestor.
  • The Black Moon/Noa Interface, the true Big Bad in the first Galaxy Angel game is a rare female example, as she sucked up to Prince Eonia, claiming him for her admirable older brother in a siscon sort of manner while convincing him to do all the evil he did before and during the coup.
  • In the Glitzville segment of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Grubba the arena owner is portrayed as an eccentric and somewhat dishonest nice guy, while the manager and his assistant, Jolene, is cold and behaves suspiciously. It turns out that Grubba is a villainous monster who has been draining people's energy to stay young forever, and although Jolene — true to the trope — was working to eliminate him, it was because she was the heroine of this arc who had discovered just what Grubba was.
  • Played straight by Sima Yi and averted by Zhuge Liang (and most other strategists) in Dynasty Warriors. Sima Yi in particular is an oddly heroic example, as despite appearing and behaving like an evil schemer in every way, he ultimately has good intentions (to finally put an end to the war of the Three Kingdoms,) while his superiors are portrayed as incompetent fools who disgrace the Cao family name.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Sima Yi is played as one, although he is loyal until almost the end, and Zhuge gets a nice rant about how he's a hero and not about to betray anyone.
    • The Tenba/Misha path in Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia has the corporate version of this, with a twist. Bourd is very obviously evil... but initially seems to be a loyal servant of his boss, Ayano, who appears to be a villainess, right down to a Stripperiffic villain costume and eyepatch. However, at The Reveal, it turns out that she's a genuinely good person who had no idea Bourd was a villain performing inhumane experiments and perverting her company away from its goal of helping people, not just making a profit, as she was poor at the actual day-to-day management of the business, and left that to Bourd.
    • Played further with in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, where Alfman Uranous, the very suspicious Chancellor of the Grand Bell (thus the protagonist's superior), responsible for brutal public health and safety policies, forbidding the study of history and manipulating the Holy Maiden Cloche, may be a Well-Intentioned Extremist aiming to Rage Against the Heavens.
  • In Jade Empire, Death's Hand appears to fit this trope perfectly: After his rise to power, the normally popular Emperor stopped making public appearances, he's the head of an evil Secret Police that was a peaceful congregation of monks, he slaughters and tortures innocents in secret, and he's building a massive golem army that could easily destroy the Emperor's human one and place him in power. However, shortly before the game's fake ending, it is revealed that Death's Hand really is loyal to the Emperor, and was actually given his position so that anyone who discovered his actions would fall for the red herring and not blame the Emperor. Later, it's revealed that Death's Hand doesn't have any free will at all: He's just a spirit bound to obey the Emperor. To make matters worse ,the poor bastard is the enslaved spirit of the Emperor's little brother.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The backstory indicates this was the preferred role of Dread Lords before joining the Burning Legion. Members would infiltrate other races and steadily steer it into corruption and self-destruction.
    • Lady Prestor pressed for the young Prince Anduin to take the crown in his father's absence and as his adviser gave him a steady stream of bad ideas. She was in fact the disguised black dragon Onyxia manipulating the Alliance to protect her brood's interests. Her good counterpart, Bolvar Fordragon, backed her suggestions due to a compulsion placed on him.
    • The Lich King expansion added Varimathras, a member of a race that has been Always Chaotic Evil from the start of time to this list, to the surprise of absolutely no one. The spoiler tag probably isn't even necessary.
    • Played with by Magatha Grimtotem. She has all the trappings of one (suspicious motives, has shown disdain for Cairne and the Horde's new directions, leader of the Taurn's Evil Counterparts) but didn't actually do anything to go against them until Cataclysm. In an effort to get cozy with the new War Chief, she had Garrosh's weapons coated with a poison during a duel with Cairne and used the chaos following the death of their leader to try and usurp Tauren leadership in the Horde. Garrosh was not amused.
  • In Just Cause 3, you can find audio logs from Sebastiano Di Ravello which tell of his rise to power and how he had planned everything down. In this trope's case, he had become this to the former ruler of Medici, President Dante, corrupting him into making unpopular actions and then making himself popular with it while also using the Agency to stoke a rebellion. It ends with President Dante torn apart, the presidential candidate forced to flee the country and he's made to look like the hero who then puts the country into militaristic rule for the next several years.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in the Xbox game Metal Wolf Chaos, where Richard Hawk, the vice president of the United States, abandons subtle evil-advisor strategies to terrorize the country in a giant robot. Necessitating the President to don his own giant robot and take it back.
  • In the Fire Emblem titles Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, the Apostle Sanaki and the Senate rule over the Bengion jointly. While claiming to share her interests, they obstruct her ability to discover their corrupt actions. In fact, they killed the previous Apostle, Sanaki's grandmother, and had her installed as ruler at an young age. Because Sanaki was a child at the time of her installment, they made a seemingly minor member of the Senate named Sephiran Prime Minister as he was the only one to calm her tantrums. They thought they could control the two, but Sanaki ended up being politically formidable, and Sephiran became the only man she could trust. However, as events seemed to come into motion that could reveal their plot, the senators launched a coup'de'tat, imprisoning Sephiran as a traitor to the empire and sending Sanaki into "seclusion", essentially securing their personal rule over Begnion, in order to continue their campaign of extermination against the "sub-human" laguz.

    Unknown to both Sanaki and the Senate, Sephiran actually had his own agenda. Actually an agent of the goddess Ashera, Sephiran was tasked to watch over the two races of Tellius, the normal-human Beorc and the shapeshifting animal-like Laguz, in hopes both races will live in peace. They failed to do so, and in fact, the assassination of Sanaki's grandmother and the framing (and near extinction) of the Herons was the last straw. So, with the aid of his servant Zelgius, aka the Black Knight, he sparked the war as depicted in Path of Radiance in hopes of having the war engulf the entire continent forcing the goddess to awaken and wipe out all living things. Despite his intentions of having everyone in Tellius killed, he is genuinely concerned for Sanaki. Long story short, the Vice Minister plans to thwart his two superiors and claim power to himself, while the Prime Minister/Chancellor plans to obliterate all life because he lost faith in it.
  • Melvin in Odin Sphere. Exactly how much he planned beforehand and how much just happened on its own after Elfaria's death is debatable. The Three Wise Men are a better, albeit far less prominent, example.
  • Gnarl, an aged minion in the game Overlord serves as the evil advisor of the Villain Protagonist, serving as his guide and giving him hints and tips in-game while also encouraging the player to do as much evil as he can. At the end of the game when the original Overlord returns Gnarl quickly betrays you, but it's depicted more as a duty to the owner of the Dark Tower and tells you that he'll take you back in if you kill the old Overlord.
    • A non-evil chancellor wouldn't be much use to the Overlord, would he?
    • Overlord II's ending suggests that he's biding his time...
      • Why would he be? He handpicked and cultivated from childhood exactly the Overlord he wanted, and as his mentor/custodian can exercise more authority over the Overlord than Overlord can over him. That's as comfortable a situation as a Man Behind the Man can get.
  • StarCraft's Samir Duran. Twice.
  • Examples in The Legend of Zelda:
    • Ganondorf first appears (in order of chronology: in Ocarina of Time) as a vassal of the King of Hyrule. He already has a reputation for brutality and ruthlessness ("he even killed people!", one of his rivals declares with genuine shock, suggesting that the Gerudo were pretty benign for a race of desert robbers); the king should've seen trouble brewing.
    • Agahnim wins a later king's trust in the backstory of A Link to the Past, by ending a plague that the manual strongly hints that he or someone else caused. The Coup ensues, and Link spends the game as a Hero with Bad Publicity.
    • The sorceress Veran in Oracle of Ages after taking possession of Nayru the titular oracle, becomes Queen Ambi's most trusted advisor. She soon has the old advisor banished from the court, manipulates the queen into building a tower and eventually takes possession of Ambi herself.
    • Zant in Twilight Princess was possibly one in the backstory, all we know is he was initially going to be get chosen by the Royal family as their successor, but got disqualified due to desiring to make war on Hyrule. Regardless of his position, Zant later seizes power, and transforms Midna, who was chosen instead of him, into an Imp. The manga adaptation is more explicit about him being one.
    • The Obviously Evil Chancellor Cole is this to Princess Zelda in Spirit Tracks. Unlike Zant, he flat out kills the Princess, instead of just transforming her. It also turns out Cole is not just a greedy man, but a literal demon in hylian form.
    • This trope is double subverted in A Link Between Worlds. We eventually find out that Yuga, who's been traveling around Hyrule transforming the Seven Sages into paintings for an evil ritual, was a servant of Hilda, Princess of Lorule, and apparently trying to steal power from her. Then we discover that Yuga was actually working for Hilda — it was her idea to kidnap the Sages and use their power to eventually steal the Triforce from Hyrule to revitalize her dying world. But Yuga ends up trapping Hilda in a painting and trying to seize the whole Triforce for himself, proving that he was an Evil Chancellor in an already evil plan.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this trope is referenced and played for laughs. In Hyrule Castle, there are some books that can be found containing recipes from the royal family. One of these is the Monster Cake, which is described as the chancellor's favorite and a "dangerous" dish that might motivate one to plan evil schemes.
  • The Pope of Tales of Symphonia, who is for all intents and purposes the Chancellor of Meltokio, plots the death of the King so he can take over and rule, among other heinous acts (see the Jerkass entry for examples, a trope he fits very well).
  • All of Ansem's students in Kingdom Hearts betrayed him and took his place, when he forbid them to do researches on the darkness, including Xehanort, who even went as far as to steal the name of his teacher, who was trusting him so much. Afterwards, Xehanort banished Ansem into the realm of nothingness, a fate worse than death.
  • Ad Avis from Quest for Glory.
    • Interestingly, Jafar appears in the game in a non-villainous role.
  • Vizier Abdul Alhazred from King's Quest VI attempts to establish dominion in the Land of the Green Isles by becoming a trustworthy advisor to the king. After becoming Vizier, he has Mordack kidnap Princess Cassima, then he goes forward to kill the king and queen and become the de facto ruler while playing Divide and Conquer with the other Islands, keeping them loyal to him and suspicious of each other. We see the full extent of Alhazred's Evil Plan when Cassima returns and Alhazred has her locked in a room while using this opportunity to devise a staged marriage to have himself declared king.
  • In King's Raid, the prime minister of Orvelia is spearheading the conspiracy to overthrow princess Scarlet, the last surviving descendant of king Kyle. Too bad for him that another heir exists - Kasel.
  • In Dungeon Siege II, the leader of the dark wizards was Valdis's Evil Mentor, procedes to become his Evil Chancellor and Dragon, and turns out to secretly be the Man Behind the Man for both Vadis and the player.
  • Before usurping the throne and becoming an Evil Overlord, Murod of Summoner used to be this.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, prime minister Borg is definitely one of those. He actively plots to use the princess as a bargaining chip to the approaching imperials in an attempt to allow him to be named King in her stead.
  • In The Horde, Kronus Maelor is an example of the silly, Obviously Evil type. He ignores King Winthrop choking during the opening cut-scene, and tries to accuse Chauncey of attacking the King when the servant boy uses the Heimlich maneuver. During the game proper, Kronus will do things like "borrow" your Ring of Teleportation so you can't use it, put a ban on travel to reduce immigration to your villages, declare Hordelings an endangered species (so you'll have to face bigger waves of enemies), or take your money as a bonus for himself. In the ending cut-scene, Kronus turns out to be the Horde King, and attacks Chauncey and King Winthrop.
  • In Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier it is inverted. Though you don't deal with them for very long, Duke Skyheed seems like a noble leader while his chancellor seems like a very rude, disagreeable, and scheming sort, turns out Skyheed is the Big Bad and the Chancellor has been helping you all along.
  • Chancellor Jeeves of Gotha in Dragon Quest V.
  • In Final Fantasy XI in the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion Grand Vizier Razfahd, Empress Nashmeira's brother, is pretty evil. His goal was to reconstruct Alexander so that it could fight Odin in a new Ragnarok. Eventually he gets what he wants, but dies in the process. Then much later, you get to fight Alexander again, and we find out he was alive in the avatar dimension. Afterwards he is sorry for the trouble that he caused.
  • Gigameth, the royal advisor to King Gorn of Saronia in Final Fantasy III. He uses mind control to make the king exile his son and plunge all of Saronia into civil war.
  • Parodied in the flash RPG MARDEK: Chapter 3, where Sslen'ck leaves his village in the hands of his most trusted adviser, Blatantly Evil Chancellor. Yes, that's his name.
  • Vulcanus from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is the Archangel, second-in-command to Seraph Lamington, Supreme Commander of the Celestial Hosts, got a god complex, is politically incorrect and Obviously Evil.
  • Guild Wars had this in its original Prophecies campaign with Vizier Khilbron. When he performed the ritual that destroyed his home kingdom, he was transformed into the Undead Lich and served as the Big Bad of the campaign. At first it was left vague if he was evil before destroying Orr but late in the Nightfall campaign it's revealed that he had been converted to the worship of Abaddon and was ordered to destroy Orr by said god.
  • Corley Motors Vice President Adrian 'Rip' Ripburger in Full Throttle.
  • In the Interactive Fiction game Varicella, the titular character (Primo) is the scheming, effeminate councilor of an Alternate Universe modern-day Piedmont, out to seize power after the sudden death of the King. He's also the player character. Several other games set in the same universe reveal that he was eventually executed for treason.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Big Bad of Arena is Jagar Tharn, the Imperial Battlemage of Emperor Uriel Septim VII. Very much an Evil Sorcerer, Tharn imprisons the Emperor in Oblivion and secretly takes his place.
    • In Skyrim, Ancano acts as an "Advisor" to the ArchMage of the College of Winterhold, serving as a representative for the Thalmor, the Nazi-esque and Elven Supremacist ruling party of the Aldmeri Dominion. Personality wise, he's a massive Smug Snake, a Jerkass Obstructive Bureaucrat, and is so Obviously Evil it's impossible not to notice. The College tolerates him, if only to avoid some massive diplomatic issues, but they suspect that he's only using the post to spy on them. [[spoiler: He eventually goes on a power bender, gets a hold of a very powerful artifact of unknown origin, uses it to amplify his own magical powers, and then stages a hostile takeover of the College, threatening to unmake the world just to see if he really can.] Oh, and he looks like this, in case you needed a visual clue.
      • And as a final insult, the Thalmor have massacred and manipulated their way into becoming an entire nation of Evil Chancellors for every territory they've annexed or armisticed with the same goal as Ancano. You'll find them in every Imperium-aligned hold as 'emissaries', whose actual task is purging the regions of Talos worshippers and Thalmor enemies. They're deeply hated by the Stormcloaks AND the Imperium for their legalized slaughter of Skyrim citizens, to the point that ''outright murdering them in full view of an Imperium guard or even a Jarl will only result in a 40 septim assault fee, while Stormcloak guards and Jarls will laugh and take bets", but ultimately their hooks in the Imperium are so deep that another emissary will always take their place and there's nothing in-game you can do about it. Later in the game, you'll find evidence that the upper echelons of the Thalmor brainwashed the Stormcloaks into waging civil war against their former Imperium masters for the explicit purpose of weakening Skyrim for conquest and eventually the Imperium, but their true goal is to destroy the entire universe out of some insane belief that life as disembodied spirits before the creation of Nirn would be a superior existence.
    • In The Elder Scrolls Online, series' recurring villain Mannimarco is the (barely) secretly Evil All Along advisor to Emperor Varen Aquilarios and The Dragon to Big Bad Molag Bal. Mannimarco betrays Varen and brings all-out war to Tamriel, all as part of his quest to become a god.
  • Rilix, an ancient powerful being of a long lost race of people is this to the King in Shining the Holy Ark. She turns the King into a puppet an attempts to use him to bring back her race, who are sealed in a can.
  • In Fable III Reaver, the Affably Evil Hero of Skill and the head of Reaver Industries becomes an adviser after the player ascends to the throne. He advocates evil but profitable acts like building a Brothel instead of an orphanage, reinstating child labor or draining a lake to get a mine. Since Reaver Industries builds everything he stands to profit either way.
  • Creon, the Queen's consort in Atlantis: The Lost Tales, has her kidnapped so that he can become King.
  • Archbishop Lazarus from the Diablo series was this to King Leoric of Khanduras. He was corrupted by Diablo long ago, and not only influenced him for the worse when the archdemon in question tried to take him over, but was responsible for many of the knights of Khanduras being killed in a war with Westmarch, the luring of many adventurers into the Tristram Cathedral to be murdered by the demonic Butcher, and the kidnapping of Prince Albrecht, Leoric's youngest son, to be a vessel for Diablo.
    • Chancellor Eamon from Diablo III, in contrast, was very much The Good Chancellor, who tried his best to save lives when the Darkening was going down, but was accused of being this by the people, resulting in his death when King Leoric fell.
  • Grimald of Guenevere is nominally assisting Queen Hildegarde of the Franks in every way possible and taking delicate diplomatic matters for her sake, but is actually just scheming to take the throne for himself.
  • If you're a vassal lord in Crusader Kings, it's possible for your liege to appoint you as his/her chancellor. From there, you can choose to play the trope straight or invert the trope.
  • In the Kiseki Series, Chancellor Gilliath Osborne of the Erebonian empire is seen as this by other people around Western Zemuria. However at the same time, he's also a Well-Intentioned Extremist in that he's fighting for the commoners who have been abused by the corrupt nobles and wants to change things with his reformation. The problem however is that his idea to weaken the hold of the Noble Alliance is to expand the empire such that other small countries get absorbed into the Erebonian empire, mostly through underhanded means like secretly sending jaegers to destroy cities and villages and the Erebonian army to "save them".
  • In Beyond the Beyond, Glade, advisor to the king of Zalagoon, refuses to help the heroes because he suspects the knight Samson is a spy for the Bandore Empire, because despite being Famed in Story for his Super Strength, Samson was unable to lift a pillar off the ground without screaming in pain due to a strength-sapping curse placed on him by the Vicious Ones' sorceress, Ramue. With Finn's party barred from entering Zalagoon Castle for a long time, Glade uses their absence to exert his will on the king and sells him out to Bandore, hoping for a peaceful surrender. He almost succeeds until the heroes return to Zalagoon after having the curse broken, proving to the king that their Samson isn't an imposter.
  • In Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse, the Caliph and his Vizier have a magical telepathic link, and after the vizier turns down one of your requests, you are approached by a noble named Obdel who tells you that the link actually allows the Vizier to control the Caliph's mind. He sends you on a mission to infiltrate the Vizier's quarters, where a diary can be found to corroborate this. The diary is actually a (rather clumsy) fake. The Caliph is being mentally influenced, but it's by Obdel's masters. The Vizier is trying to fight them off, so Obdel is trying to get him out of the way.
  • In Shuyan Saga, the chancellor to the King of Nan Feng turns out to be working for the invaders; this is why some members of the court are so quick to dismiss warnings that the invaders are using "unnatural magics" (and why there's a Bodyguard Betrayal a bit later).
  • Harebrained Schemes' Battletech has Santiago Espinosa, head of House Espinosa who traditionally served as chancellors to House Arano. He only technically remains the Evil Chancellor for a few minutes before seizing power in The Coup during the opening mission, and spends the rest of the campaign as the Big Bad. His motivations are somewhat more complex than the average example of this trope, and he claims he would have been loyal to House Arano if Kamea had been more inclined to follow his advise and centralized the Reach.
  • The lore in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire tells of Creitus, an Engwithan chancellor who was a master liar and manipulator who stole the wealth of countless noble houses. And donated it to the poor.

  • Parodied to ridiculous levels with the 8-Bit Theater character Chancellor Usurper a.k.a. Dark Elf King Astos. When he was about to take over he planned to have the man who would be the next chancellor killed since he knows you can never trust whoever is in that position. Apparently, this is par for course in Elf Land.
    White Mage: Your viziers are treacherous?
    Thief: It's an Elven court. It's all viziers and they're all assholes.
  • Adventurers! has a comic where upon being introduced to the Chancellor, Karn immediately tosses him out a window for this very reason. Parodied in that that was the GOOD chancellor, his evil duplicate was late to work and hadn't had a chance to kidnap/replace him yet.
  • Darths & Droids:
    • Subversion/Lampshade Hanging: Qui-Gon is immediately suspicious of Queen Amidala's advisor Sio Bibble (whose name Qui Gon thinks is "Bubble") due to his goatee and the fact that he's a "trusted advisor". However, never ever at all does Bibble do anything that would indicate this to be at all accurate. In fact, the commentary includes a link to this page.
    • Chancellor Valorum is portrayed as (ludicrously over-the-top) Evil, and he is a Chancellor, but oddly enough, he is not an Evil Chancellor as defined by this trope, because in the Galactic Senate "Chancellor" refers to the equivalent of President or King, rather than an advisor role, so he's more President Evil.
  • Lampshade Hanging and subversion in Casey and Andy, where the protagonists visit a fantasy-based parallel dimension. There, the "Evil Grand Vizier" is supposed to be constantly scheming to topple the monarch, and sure enough, the Vizier is easily recognizable as the local version of Casey & Andy's archnemesis... however, in the end it turns out that he's actually a good guy, and that he'd only pretended to be a scheming, unreliable madman in order to get close to the Queen, with whom he was in love. The true Evil Chancellor turns out to be the court wizard Kasor, who plays this fairly straight.
  • Parodied in Penny Arcade, Tycho tutors Gabe on his Killer Game Master techniques after Gabe allows his D&D party to become demigods. For the next play session Tycho stands behind Gabe in a black cape whispering advice to him, while Gabe calls him "Vizier".
  • Subversion in The Wotch, the character of Kohain Ravime is cunning, brilliant, and the right hand man of Big Bad Melleck Xaos... to whom he is utterly loyal, despite the occasional instance of taking action on his own, even when he knows Xaos wouldn't approve. He is, in fact, incensed when the Uricarn Demon implies that he'd help Ravime overthrow Xaos and seize power, and explains that he instead hopes to make sure the prophesies about Xaos are fulfilled and to enjoy a long and healthy career as Xaos's second-in-command. To some extent, this makes him more of a Man Behind the Man, who knows the second-in-command position is more comfortable than the Big Bad's. He's notable mainly because he seems to fit the trope very well at first. He looks like a duck, he walks like a duck... but at a closer look, he's a goose.
  • In Dead of Summer, Doug Fetterman is somewhere between this and an Evil Prince. It's also a slight subversion in that the good guys know he's evil.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Tarquin and his five adventuring buddies pair up and act as this to three different empires (though they are not necessarily, in this case, opposing in alignment to their bosses) in a careful juggling act designed to give them all wealth and power without the hassles and dangers of being openly in charge.
  • Flaky Pastry features one of these when the heroes follow Nitrine back to her homeland. Cranked up to... well... cartoonish levels, he's also an arch-typical Smug Snake.
  • In Glorianna, both Lord Vasgor (brother of King Arven) and Zorko (advisor to Duke Thanaktos) play this role.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Magon Coifer, adviser to Lord Torgamous the Warlord of Mercia, in "The Stormbreaker Saga". He has Torg (main character of the comic and time traveler from the future) pretend to be the warlord ostensibly to ease the tensions created by his continues nonappearance due to being sick, but really so that he can give him bad advice that will give support to a rebellion he is funding and secure his ascension to the throne. He's pretty stereotypical about it.
    Torg: Hey Ming! Let me guess: skull-cap, Fu-Man-Chu mustache, just stabbed a buddy in the back for knowing too much.... bad guy, right?
    Magon: I prefer the term "morally challenged".
  • Somewhat subverted in Cwen's Quest as the three scheming advisors to the Witch Queen, while unscrupulous, are actually a lot nicer than the queen. They briefly actually manage to take over the kingdom by putting a child on the throne after the original Witch Queen's death but when next we see them they've apparently lost control as the new grown up queen is viciously ordering them around.
  • Over-the-top parodied (as most things are) in Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy: The United Nations has a Trusted Grand Vizier, who takes over when the Secretary-General goes missing (in accordance with the U.N. Ancient Texts).
    "Now, I know how much you hate personal power, Grand Vizier Slitherstab, but —"
    "I'll cope."

    Web Original 
  • Played straight and averted in the case of Mocha, the evil-as-sin Court Magistrate in the episodic-segment story What Is This Black Magic You Call Science? She kills and sacrifices anyone with faint hints of liberalism, even killing a little girl with red flowers in her hair who Chryseis was trying to save. In front of her parents and siblings. Her constant, rivalry-antagonism with Chryseis is also fueled by sibling rivalry, since their father thought Chryseis was a better child. I wonder why. Oh, and she's also the goddess of female power, and a very violent blood mage.

    Averted in that she does not wish to usurp the throne [ rather, she put him on there since she knew he'd not interfere with her wanton killing], and her motives for keeping people so afraid are supposedly that if they left Nifl, they'd see the rotted giantess head at Epoch at find out that gods really can die, and will give them some sort of sovereign power. However, she is slowly losing power since the death of the Red Flower Girl led to public outcry.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Chick does the vice-president variety in Kickassia when she spends most of the special trying to kill The Nostalgia Critic to take the presidency for her own. Sure, by about halfway through everyone is trying to kill Critic, but she was doing it independent of the rebellion.

    Western Animation 
  • The character of Long Feng, head of the Dai Li in the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The DVD Commentary mentions his power was based on that of Imperial Chinese eunuchs.
  • Another comical, over-the-top example is Chancellor Trample from the TaleSpin episode "The Road to Macadamia".
  • The character Stan in Frisky Dingo turns out to be one of these about half-way through the first season.
  • Corvax from Muzzy in Gondoland is very close to the King, though his exact position is unclear (he refers to his former position as "very important" in the sequel). He kisses up to the King (who's a Horrible Judge of Character), and wants to get an Arranged Marriage with his daughter Princess Sylvia.
  • Subverted in an episode of The Venture Bros.: Dr. Henry Killinger, Dr. Rusty Venture's new life coach, is trying to get him to join the Guild of Calamitous Intent and become an archvillain to his more capable twin brother, but in rare form Killinger is actually looking out for Rusty's best interests and making him into a more successful, stronger-willed person. It seems to work: we spend the climax of the episode assuming Rusty is signing a form of membership in the Guild, only to find out he's actually signing Killinger's severance agreement.
  • Something of a Running Gag in Tarkon-based Galaxy Rangers episodes. King Spartos is a Horrible Judge of Character, but his Rebellious Princess daughter isn't.
  • Dorkus in Planet Sheen. His goal isn't to usurp the throne, however, but to get rid of Sheen for destroying his home, taking his place as imperial advisor, and making fun of his name.
  • Futurama has Dick Cheney as this for Richard Nixon.
    Cheney: As your vice-president, I ORDER YOU to steal that tree.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In Episode 90, Stumpy is roleplaying as a princess, and Mr. Cat is his evil adviser/sorcerer.
    • In the episode "Let's Play Me-Me-Nopoly", Quack Quack becomes the king of Smileyland. Mr. Cat offers to be his advisor, but he soon tricks Quack Quack into making him the king instead and tries to take steps to make it a terrible place to live.

Alternative Title(s): Grand Vizier, The Grand Vizier, Evil Vizier, Evil Regent


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