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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. note  "Evil Regent" is another variant; see Regent for Life.

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 (even though he largely isn't an example of this trope).note 

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 Islamic and/or Asian 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 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 
  • Akame ga Kill!: Prime Minister Honest, hands down, is the ringleader of the fully corrupt Imperial Capital. Technically, his young nephew Emperor Makoto 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. Makoto himself is genuinely nice and wants to be a good ruler but is a Horrible Judge of Character who falls for every single lie his uncle tells him.
  • 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.
  • Averted in The Cat Returns. The Cat King's adviser is more of a straight man to the mad king.
  • The Chinese High Eunuchs in Code Geass R2 anointed Tianzi, 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 Schneizel; Emperor Charles might be a ruthless badass, but he was too busy with the Ragnarok Connection 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, Schneizel was merely The Dragon when compared to Charles' Gendo impersonation, and becomes Dragon Ascendant because Lelouch bumped their father off.
  • In Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, the Crane Hermit is the minister of the Mifan Empire is using the army to gather the Dragon Balls with the help of his brother Tao Pai Pai, ostensibly to use them to locate Emperor Chiaotzu's missing wife Ran-Ran who the Crane Hermit himself kidnapped, but actually for the Crane Hermit to wish to rule himself.
  • 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.
  • Gundam:
    • 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.
    • Fonse Kagatie from Victory Gundam is responsible for the bulk of the Zanscare Empire's many, many atrocities. Queen Maria is a well-meaning but powerless figurehead, tragically and ironically unable to stop the bloodshed being committed in her name.
    • Also Urube Ishikawa and Prime Minister Wong from G Gundam.
    • A rare female example exists in Haman Khan of Zeta Gundam & especially in Gundam ZZ. She acts as chancellor and Regent for Life for seven year old Mineva Zabi, who is nothing more than a Puppet King. Bonus points for sharing her name with Biblical Bad Guy Haman, another example of this trope.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda (Akira Himekawa):
  • 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.
  • Chancellor Roid from Macross Delta holds all of the power in the Kingdom of Windemere, as the current king is only a child. He manipulates the Kingdom into declaring war on the rest of the galaxy, orchestrates the spread of a Hate Plague, and manipulates the king into being the Wind Singer and using his power to take control of those afflicted with said Hate Plague, all to achieve his goal of activating Protoculture artifacts to unite the galaxy under his rule.
  • 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 party was the other adviser who had passed himself off as a peaceful monk.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has Cosmo Entelecheia, a whole group of them, and they've been extremely successful so far, orchestrating a war between several nations.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.")
  • X-Men:
    • 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: Yusuf, Sinbad's advisor.
  • Oddly enough, Doctor Robotnik (and after his disintegration, Doctor Eggman) in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). 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.
  • Fantastic Four: 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 the position of D'Tasloo Parva (the Sangtee Empire's equivalent of a Chancellor/Chief 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 benefit 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.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In the Arabian Nights tale "The Story of the Slave-Girl Anis al-Jalis and Nur al-Din Ali ibn-Khaqan", Jafar 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).

    Fan Works 
  • Vicegerent Zathir in Ask a Pony's Ask Genie Twilight.
  • Chancellor Oznabrag from Super Milestone Wars.
  • In Sabaku's DA's Ben 10 fanfic set in the future, the evil adult form of Kenny, called Kenneth has a scheming Evil Chancellor named Kiyomori Taira, based on 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.
  • The King Nobody Wanted:
    • Viserys claims that Tywin Lannister's tenure as Hand of the King brought out the worst in his father. While this ignores Aerys' (many) flaws, Tywin doesn't exactly come across as a loyal and selfless advisor. Tywin's own daughter views him as a man who finds delight in running the realm in the king's stead but chafes at being an assistant for someone else's agenda.
    • Oswell Whent recalls the late Lucerys Velaryon as a malignant figure in Aerys's court, even if he never tried to betray his king.
      ''Of all the lickspittles who'd clung to Aerys, Lucerys Velaryon had been the worst. Chelsted and Staunton both tried to give Aerys what they saw as good advice, using flattery to get him to accept it, and Merryweather ... well, he was but an amiable dunce. But Lucerys ... a wretch and a wastrel. He brought out the worst in the King, and delighted in it.
  • Shimmering Ruby from The Last Crystal Unicorn
  • In Lost in Camelot, Morgause's plan in revealing the truth of Ygraine's death was to ultimately set herself up as this to Arthur; with Uther dead, she guessed that Arthur would have to face attacks from other rulers or even his own nobles who objected to his actions, and she would be able to win a place in Camelot by offering an alliance with Cenred, all while intending to eventually stage a coup of Camelot for herself.
  • 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.
  • The Night Unfurls: Beasley is the Prime Minister of the fortress Feoh. The Arc Villain of the Feoh/Ur Arc, he secretly works for the Black Dogs, so that he would be the one in charge, rather than Alicia, when they take over the fortress. Beasley's P.O.V indicates that not only he dislikes being ordered around by "some uppity royal brat" that is Alicia, he also wants to do as much as he pleases to her, and being part of the Black Dogs' Sex Empire is a means to achieve this end.
  • Welcome to the Enchanted Forest has an example of the trope in the Show Within a Show play: an evil chancellor who plots against the kingdom and ends up killed in the finale by a heroic knight. Eventually, it's turned into a subversion when a backstage emergency forces the actor playing the knight to leave: the actors have to hurriedly improvise a new ending where the chancellor survives and is revealed to be an Anti-Villain who only wants to seize power in the hopes of winning over the princess. The audience loves it, and the cast and crew decide to Throw It In for good.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jafar from 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 in between the door (say Iago). Though the Sultan eventually catches on, he manages to take over anyway using the Genie.
  • Barbie movies:
    • Preminger from Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper is the Queen's most trusted advisor, which reflects pretty poorly on her. He has secretly caused the kingdom's financial collapse and plots to "return" to the kingdom with a massive fortune he "discovered", offering their own gold back to them in exchange for Princess Anneliese's hand in marriage. Of course, the princess and her working-class lookalike Erika repeatedly complicate his plan, and it takes on its most dastardly shape in the third act: he convinces the Queen that Anneliese is dead, frames Erika for the crime, and forces the grieving Queen to accept his marriage proposal to save the kingdom.
    • Duchess Rowena from Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses is technically part of the royal family but acts the part. She wins King Randolph's trust and acts as a strict but loving mentor to his twelve daughters, but behind the king's back, she is slowly poisoning the king and convincing the princesses that they are responsible for his declining health. She successfully manipulates the twelve princesses into leaving the kingdom and persuades King Randolph to make her his successor on his deathbed.
  • Sir Rothbart from The Swan Princess is evil and probably used to work for King William before plotting to overthrow him by using the Forbidden Arts, resulting in the King firing him and banishing him from the kingdom. Years, later he got his powers back and returned, avenging William by turning into the Great Animal and killing him. Rothbart also kidnapped and cursed William’s daughter, Princess Odette, into a swan.
  • 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 consort.
  • 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 Robin Hood (1973) 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.
  • Zigzag from The Thief and the Cobbler originally tries to marry Princess YumYum to get the throne, and later offers his "magic" to the One-Eye army invading the Golden City. And he's voiced by the master of such characters.

    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.
  • The Bloody Blade Of King Lanling has the evil minister, Shi Kai, who poses as the Emperor's loyal liege and advisor, but secretly have plans of taking over the throne for himself, right up to framing the heroic Lanling for murder, poison Lanling's sworn brothers, and use a hallucinogen-inducing potion to trick the Emperor into believing the Gods have decreed for him to abdicate the throne to his minister.
  • 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.
  • Juarez: The rare example of an Evil Vice President, possibly because it's an Evil Mexican Vice President. Namely, Benito Juarez's vice president, Uradi, during Juarez's war against the occupying French army. Uradi advocates surrender when the military situation starts looking grim. Later, when Juarez's elected term expires without an election due to the country being under French occupation, Uradi tries to claim the presidency for himself. Eventually he turns traitor and throws his support to Maximilian.
  • The Great Race. General Kuhster and Baron von Stuppe plot against Prince Hapnik to have him removed from power in Potsdorf so they can take over.
  • 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 boss's 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, 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, for the most part, 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 closest he has ever been to the archetype is in The Phantom Menace where he, as Senator Palpatine, serves as an advisor/mentor to Queen Amidala on Coruscant, and quietly persuades her to motion a Vote of No Confidence on Supreme Chancellor Valorum for his incompetence, opening up a power vacuum for Palpatine to quickly seize upon.
  • The Ten Commandments (1956): 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 grabbing the crown and then putting it down and running 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 occurred 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 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.
  • Inferno (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle): When Niven and Pournelle do their own take on The Divine Comedy, they put Benito Mussolini (who, as chancellor of Italy, turned that country to Fascism), in Hell.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Big Crow holds the position of Grand Sorcerer in the court of Séraphine Alavolette, Queen of All Flying Creatures. He is not the Prime Minister but he wants the position, so he repeatedly attempts against the life of the actual Prime Minister -and the Queen's best friend- Golden Eagle, setting the main plot in motion.
  • War and Peace: Doble subversion 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 Seraph, 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.
    • 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.
  • In the I, Richard Plantagenet Series the Duke of Buckingham is this. He not only betrays Richard to the Tudors, he has the Princes in the Tower murdered, though one is an imposter. He also plans to betray the Tudors and take the crown for himself.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Inverted for Tywin Lannister. He 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. On the other hand, it is debatable whether Tywin is truly doing what's best for his House, 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 a subversion. 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". 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, even murdering the competent Kevan Lannister to help disrupt the regime.
    • 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. 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.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Gríma Wormtongue of The Lord of the Rings succeeds in effectively ruling Rohan by manipulating the ailing King Théoden... for a while.
    • The Silmarillion: Sauron becomes this to the last King of Númenor. 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.
    • The Fall of Gondolin: Maeglin, one of his uncle King Turgon's trusted advisors, reveals the location of the hidden city to Morgoth in exchange for being given Turgon's daughter. Morgoth spends seven years preparing an invasion force, a time during which Maeglin never warns Turgon about the coming invasion even though he knew of it.
  • 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 Gilded Chamber: Haman works his way into becoming the most trusted advisor of King Xerxes, falsely accusing other advisors of disloyalty and personally executing them.
  • 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 of 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 that 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.
  • 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. He is technically just the king's chief advisor. In truth though he's a powerful sorcerer with many different schemes whom the king fears deeply, and is the true power.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prophecy Approved Companion: The history of the Evil Emperor as said in the first chapter:
    "He was the Grand Vizier, loved and trusted by the Noble King and Beautiful Queen," he had told all the wide-eyed Potentials. "But he betrayed them most horribly! And he slew them, and took power! And ever since then the land has fallen into ruin and despair!"
  • While Cardinal Richelieu doesn't really fit this role in the original The Three Musketeers, being more of an Anti-Villain with the best interests of France at heart (more or less) and no inclination to depose his conveniently manipulable king (which is probably quite historically correct), some of the many adaptations and derivative works simplify things by giving him ambitions towards the throne.
  • In A Legacy of Light, Grand Vizier Ay's priorities do not always line up with those of the benevolent, altruistic Pharaoh and Queen.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Greensparrow. When court mage, he killed his master the Avonite king along with all his sons and seized the throne, keeping only the king's daughter alive to serve him as she is a mage (tricking her into going along with this).
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Very likely to show up. Most Councilors will be evil and giving the King bad advice or generally ruining their kingdom, as secret minions of the Dark Lord. Generally they will soon try to have all of the heroes imprisoned.
  • Forest Kingdom: In book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon), Duke Alric, ruler of Hillsdown, intends to become this by usurping his daughter's place as regent of the Forest Kingdom and basically merge the two countries while eliminating all his enemies until his grandson Stephen comes of age and takes the throne. He changes his mind after a series of events.
  • Star Wars Legends book series Jedi Apprentice Book Four, The Mark of the Crown: Lonnag Giba is the head of the Council of Ministers on the planet Gala. The planet is undergoing a transition from monarchy to democracy, and one of the least happy about this change is Giba because whoever controls the government can change whoever is on the council. So Giba schemes to keep his power under whatever means he thinks he needs to use, from supporting his Royal Brat prince's bid for governor when it isn't in the planet's best interest (the queen admits she wants her son to lose), having his queen poisoned, cutting a deal with a candidate and selling the planet out to an Evil, Inc. that specializes in planet looting, to ordering the massacre of one-third of the planet's population so they can't vote.
  • The Adventures of Strong Vanya: Grand Duke Dimitri acts as a trusted advisor, but he is scheming to take over the throne by forcing the Tsarevna to marry him, and it is rumored he caused the old Tsar's disabling illness. He also attempts to murder Vanya before he makes a legitimate claim for the throne.
  • At the end of The Fire's Stone, it's revealed that the lord chancellor was responsible not only for encouraging Darvish to alcoholism and hedonism to dent his popularity among the populace, but for the theft of the Stone as well.
  • Fengshen Yanyi: while the evil King Zhou had many loyal ministers who still tried (and in some cases, died for this) to make him behave, he also had plenty of bootlickers and sicophants willing to do anything to please him. The first example comes from the duo Fei Zhong and You Hun, who kickstart the arrival of Daji at court by telling their emperor of Su Hu's beautiful daughter just because Su Hu refused to offer them gifts (read: bribe) upon arriving at the capital, while later Fei Zhong agrees to conspire for Daji to blame the current Queen Consort for treason, which causes her death. After their deaths, two new ministers, named E Lai and Fei Lian, take their place as bad advisors. They are also very opportunistic, plotting to steal the Imperial Seal and offer it to King Wu to gain his trust so that he'll give them a job in the new government when King Zhou will fall. Luckily for King Wu, Jiang Ziya sees through their attempt and, after bestowing a divine rank to all the names on the list, has the two killed and make them deities in charge of crumbling and erosion, appropriately enough.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Wise Man Norix, chief advisor to Emperor Andereth, poisons him as he's convinced that the Emperor's mismanaging things, making himself Regent afterward.
  • A Day of Fallen Night: The River Lord, head of the Kaposa clan, is the real ruler in Seiiki and everyone knows it—including Emperor Jorodu, who is locked in political combat with him. Although there was once a legitimate reason for the Kaposas to be a check on the imperial family, it has long since been forgotten in favor of self-serving maneuvering. After several hundred pages of manipulation and undermining Dumai while she tries to be a responsible heir, the River Lord eventually allies outright with an evil dragon and murders Jorodu to seize the throne.

    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 frontman 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.
    • House of the Dragon: Ser Otto Hightower is one other deconstruction, of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety. He forgoes the succession King Viserys had planned believing that Rhaenyra would make a poor queen of the Seven Kingdoms (though that's the same guy who has his own useless Fratbro and Serial Rapist of a grandson crowned king as a "worthy successor" to the Conqueror himself).
  • 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. Urquhart had tricked him into thinking it was the Party Chairman, who was angling for their protege the Environment Secretary to take over.
    • 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 Psycho Supporters.
  • The King's Woman: Lü Bu Wei is more interested in gaining power for himself than helping Ying Zheng rule. Ying Zheng is well aware of this and eventually banishes him because of it.
  • The Musketeers:
    • Cardinal Richelieu from season one is more of an Anti-Villain. While his actions are cruel and deadly he genuinely believes he's doing what's best for France and has no intention of taking the throne for himself. When he plots to have Queen Anne assassinated it's because he believes she's barren (the lack of an heir would be disastrous if the King should die) and stray comments by King Louis suggested he'd grown tired of her.
    • Richelieu's sudden death between seasons leaves an opening that's filled by the Comte De Rochefort who is a completely straight version of this. Rochefort proves to be a Manipulative Bastard who's obsessively in love with Queen Anne, plotting to dispose of King Louis and take Anne for himself. When Anne rejects him he quickly pivots to making it look like she was the one trying to kill Louis, further isolating the King and securing Rochefort's influence over him.
  • 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.
  • Rise of Empires: Ottoman: Halil Pasha doesn't believe that victory against Constantinople is possible, and makes repeated overtures to the Byzantine court to arrange a truce behind Mehmet's back. Averted by Zaganos Pasha, who remains completely loyal to the Sultan.
  • 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 cousin 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.
  • The Book of Mormon: Amalickiah makes a deal that sees him appointed second in command of the Lamanite army. Not for very long, though, since he then proceeds to have the leader quietly poisoned, leaving Amalickiah to inherit the position.
  • 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 
  • Chess: A viral post on Tumblr describes the "evil advisor gambit", a chess variant in which both opponents receive knowingly terrible advice from a third person, leading to an additional layer of strategy in which each player tries to tell if the other guy has fallen for it.
  • 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".
    • In Mystara setting, one of the bigger cities plays with this trope - it has both Sultan and his grand vizier reside there and the Dungeon Master is supposed to determine which one of them is evil, with the other one defaulting to being good.
  • 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 the 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. Though, in order to be true to the original stories, few of the encounters emphasize them trying to overthrow their kings; instead, they mistreat the populace and have bitter rivalries with anyone trying to gain favor in their player characters. 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.
  • 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.
  • August Strindberg in his play ERIC XIV follows the folk characterization of Goran Persson, who is traditionally considered Eric's "evil genius" with his commoner mistress and later Queen Karin Mansdottir as his "good genius". Actually, Goran is a case of the faith favorite who has no choice but to be faithful, as he can expect to outlive his patron by about five minutes. (As happens in the denouement.)
    • Also, "the much-discussed Baron Goertz" in CHARLES XII.

    Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Sagus from Delfador's Memoirs, despite being King Garard's main advisor, is arrogant and soon enough is revealed to be not the most morally upstanding member of his court. He eventually steals the Book of Crelanu from Delfador and becomes a lich out of jealousy after Delfador takes his position.
  • 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 frames the King himself for selling a royal heirloom. 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. Both are ultimately subversions, as the guys they impersonate are each examples of The Good Chancellor.
  • 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 arc 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 are cold and behave 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.
    • Battle for Azeroth gave us Priscilla Ashvane playing this role to Katherine Proudmoore, the Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras. Blizzard decided to make the two women contrast physically, which is great character design, but making Ashvane one of the very few obese NPCs wasn't the best choice.
  • 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, Apostle Sanaki and the Senate rule over Bengion jointly. While claiming to share her interests, they obstruct her ability to discover their corrupt actions. In fact, they killed the previous Apostle Misaha, Sanaki's grandmother, and had her installed as ruler at a 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 d'etat, 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 Misaha 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 Ashera to awaken and wipe out all living things. Despite his intentions of having everyone in Tellius turned to stone, 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...
  • StarCraft's Samir Duran. Twice.
  • The Legend of Zelda has several examples:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Kingdom Hearts: All of Ansem's students betrayed him and took his place, when he forbid them to do research 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.
  • Quest for Glory: Ad Avis.
  • 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, proceeds 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 for 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.
  • Dragon Quest V: Chancellor Jeeves of Gotha. When he finds out that you're the kingdom's missing prince and about to claim the throne, he arranges for monsters to kidnap your wife and lure you away so he can take the throne himself. He does get what's coming to him, though.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion of Final Fantasy XI, 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. 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, the 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 and 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 Trails 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 advice 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.
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, Sergei Taboritsky quickly shows his true colors in becoming one of these to Tsar Alexei Romanov, meaning to clear the ground for him and imposing an ordered empire for him to step into. Oddly for the trope, he's anything but antagonistic to Alexei. The problem is that Sergei Taboritsky is completely and unfathomably batshit insane as Alexei has been dead for fifty years no matter how much Taboritsky claims otherwise. He also thinks the ideal Holy Russian Empire is a borderline omnicidal nightmare run according to the Orwellian Burgundian System that he imposes at all costs even as thousands are killed every week for everything from disproportionate death sentences to essentially declaring War On The Poor. The strain of denying reality will eventually kill him if he wins and will result in Russia collapsing forever as his empire of nightmares quite literally begins to cave in on itself the second he dies.
  • In Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, the plot is kicked off when the protagonist, Evan, the prince of a kingdom of Cat People, has his father murdered by his Evil Chancellor, Mausinger, a snarling Rat Man. Evan flees the ensuing coup, but must eventually figure out how to return to the kingdom of his birth without attracting the attention of his usurper. It eventually turns out that Mausinger was actually the king's closest friend and advisor—but he had his own advisor who twisted his worries for the kingdom and made him believe a coup was the only way to save the kingdom.
  • Subverted in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Chancellor Roderick was a low-level official with the church until the explosion that killed all higher-ranking priests left him with more power than ever before and he's eager to move up in the power vacuum. But nothing comes of his machinations except for loud complaining, as he basically just represents the remaining clerics that are against the Inquisition. He even has a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the first act and helps the Inquisition escape Corypheus before dying.
  • Even Cookie Run Kingdom gets in on the act with Affogato Cookie, the right-hand man of Dark Cacao Cookie. He has spent his time in the Dark Cacao Kingdom impairing the king with his incenses and desires to overthrow him and take his place as king.
  • One of the first objectives of Symphony Of War is to put down an uprising organized by a famed general, but as soon as you've defeated him, the empire's chancellor accuses you of plotting your own rebellion and has you arrested on the spot. And then, as you're being taken out of the room by guards, he just outright stabs Empress Florina in the back and pins the blame on you.

  • 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 the 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 he 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 continued 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."
  • Ennui GO!: "Civics" reveals that Izzy deliberately invoked this trope; she found "the nastiest moron" she could and made him her evil vizier to help her run Key Manati better — namely, if her opinion ever ends up lining up with his, she'll know immediately she's making a bad call.

    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.
  • Parodied and subverted by Evil Chancellor Traytor, who only looks Obviously Evil. The 'Evil' is just a title, and he carries around the poisoned knife Kingslayer to kill evil kings, and so that he would take the blame for killing a king. Traytor is ridiculously nice, donating large sums of money to charity and writing legislature for the disabled.

    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 independently 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 halfway through the first season.
  • The Dragon Prince: Lord Viren had shades of this role from the beginning, having been an advisor of the king dealing with dark magic and some shady "practical" decisions. It's implied he would've also been this to Amaya by saying he would support her if she took the throne.
  • 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.
  • Season 8 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic introduces Chancellor Neighsay, a racist bigot who, while at least citing some valid reasons to close the School of Friendship, is mainly motivated by his dislike of the school allowing non-pony students to attend and is clearly only trying to get it closed for his own sake. Later subverted, though he is a racist, he's eventually revealed to be a Noble Bigot who genuinely is trying to protect Equestria and the students at the school, and that he was actually a Red Herring for the real villain: Cozy Glow.


Video Example(s):

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


Nostalgia Chick

The Scheming Vice-President variant. She continually plans to off the Nostalgia Critic and take his place, and her schemes seem to have nothing to do with the building rebellion among the rest of the team.

How well does it match the trope?

3.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilChancellor

Media sources: