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Evil Matriarch

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Evil definitely runs in this family.

"When Your Nemesis Is Your Mom: Fighting with your mom can be awkward. Will she know your weaknesses? If you win can you still go home for Thanksgiving? Just do your best in battle and remember that your mom will kill you if she gets the chance..."
Does This Cape Make Me Look Fat? By Chelsea Cain and Marc Mohan

A mother is one of the most central figures that a character can have growing up, and her influence can have an impact on that character even as an adult. If the character is lucky, that mother will be a loving one, and if he or she is really lucky, she'll be an Action Mom who can kick ass and take names if the character is ever threatened.

But if the character is really unlucky and isn't suffering from Parental Abandonment, the character's mother will be an Evil Matriarch, and chances are she will make that character's life a living hell. Can lead to them becoming a Disowned Parent.

The Evil Matriarch comes in two forms:

Comedic: Usually used in the Dom Com, this variety is usually the mother of one of the two parents on the show who comes to visit every so often, and someone on the cast dreads it. Given the tone of these shows, "evil" tends to be somewhat of a stretch, but the matriarch in question may still be a Jerkass. Usually (though not always) this variety of Evil Matriarch is a helicopter parent, often to an irrational extreme. Classically, this is a Mother-in-Law situation, but from time to time, the kids themselves, or even the child of the mother is the one that dreads it. In some cases, everyone hates the Evil Matriarch, like in Malcolm in the Middle, where everyone dreads Lois's mother coming to visit. In other cases, her visit is appreciated by everyone but the daughter or son of the Evil Matriarch, like in Family Ties, where the matriarch is evil because her daughter feels she can't live up to mom's perfection. Expect this variety of Evil Matriarch to have Power Hair and other Fashionable Evil.

Dramatic: This variety, which shows up in more dramatic media, is truly evil in a traditional sense, and is one of the worst villains one can face, especially if one of the Heroes or Love Interests is one of her children (or if she's married into his or her family as a stepmother). Many such Evil Matriarchs are completely convinced that they, and only they, know what's best for their children, and can be very controlling, manipulative, and perfectly willing to do anything they deem necessary for their children's sake, no matter how evil or destructive it may be. And that's assuming that they actually love (or feel any attachment at all towards) their children in the first place. The most vicious examples of this variety of Evil Matriarch despise their children (or at least the one they've singled out as The Unfavorite) and are often physically or emotionally abusive towards them, and many of them are not above Offing the Offspring.

If she's not entirely human, then expect her to be a Hive Queen. If she is also the Queen, expect God Save Us from the Queen!. If she is just a wanted criminal, then she's just a Notorious Parent.

The Spear Counterpart of this character type is Archnemesis Dad, and it's actually quite rare for an Evil Matriarch to be paired up with one. In the off-chance that she's indeed the wife of an Archnemesis Dad, their children are definitely screwed (and in works that aren't averse to violence, things will probably get bloody by the story's end). The inversion is Antagonistic Offspring. See Abusive Parents and Parental Neglect for the more mundane versions. See Offing the Offspring and/or Matricide for what this might lead to if the kids fight back, or Hates Their Parent, for how the kid likely feels about them. If the mother's antics stem from incompetence rather than malice, she's Maternally Challenged. If a villainess tones down or outright abandons her wickedness upon becoming a mother (preventing this trope from applying in the first place), that's Deliver Us from Evil. Abusive Offspring is the inverse, where the child is abusive to the mother.

If it's not your mother but her replacement who's making your life a living Hell, see Wicked Stepmother. If the evil mother in question actually has the word "mother" in her villain title, see One Bad Mother. Compare Villainous Mother-Son Duo, for when the mother and her offspring are active partners-in-crime.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baki the Grappler was one of the few unlucky enough to have both this and an Archnemesis Dad. His father was the Ultimate Life Form with his mother In Love with Your Carnage and obsessed with giving him a worthy heir, turning Baki's entire childhood into Training from Hell while being cold and distant with him before disowning him entirely for still not being strong enough, before her Redemption Equals Death.
  • Boys over Flowers: Kaede Domyoji puts the family corporate behemoth before everything, including her children's potential happiness ("There is no place for ridiculous emotions like [love] in the Domyoji Group.") She neglects her son for years (which is implied to be the source of his semi-sociopathic fits of violence) until he gets involved with the Plucky Girl heroine, after which she devotes herself wholeheartedly to sabotaging the relationship by using her massive wealth and connections to blackmail and destroy everyone the heroine holds dear, an exercise she has already previously done with Tsukasa's older sister Tsubaki. When Tsukasa ends up in the hospital with amnesia, she doesn't even display any concern and merely exults in the fact that this will harm his relationship with his girlfriend.
  • Code Geass gives us Marianne vi Britannia, Lelouch and Nunnally's mother, whom they revered as a saint while never knowing that she had the same ambitions as their father the Emperor. One sidestory novel has a scene in which the Emperor's bodyguard Bismarck witnesses Marianne peacefully interacting with her kids, then is stunned when he sees that her face is completely devoid of motherly love.
  • Mayu's mother from Elfen Lied. She shows no empathy towards Mayu when she tells her that her stepfather is molesting her and belittles her because she is jealous of the "attention" her stepfather was giving her, and tells her that she wouldn't care if she vanished.
  • During the Alvarez Empire arc of Fairy Tail, Irene Belserion, one of the strongest members of the Spriggan 12, reveals that she is Erza's long-lost mother. She not only serves Zeref during his invasion of Fiore, but she had also attempted to pull a Grand Theft Me on her own daughter, shortly after Erza's birth, and claims to have abandoned her when it didn't work. It turns out that Irene was the first Dragon Slayer, and ultimately turned into a dragon like Acnologia, while pregnant with Erza. After spending several centuries as a dragon, she decided to take over Erza's body to regain her human form. In spite of everything, she becomes at least a little sympathetic when it turns out she was misremembering the circumstances of Erza's abandonment - she actually did love her daughter, and decided against stealing baby Erza's body, before leaving her in case she was ever tempted to try again.
  • Ren Sohma, Akito's mother, from Fruits Basket. She's probably one of the worst fictional parents ever.
    • There's also Yuki and Ayame's mother, who had no qualms about abandoning/selling and ignoring them respectively. In a flashback, it was revealed that she and her husband were off "living it up" with the money and status they got from Yuki being Akito's companion — while Yuki was deathly ill. Unlike others of her ilk, she's hinted in the manga to have started to get better, after Ayame completely owns her at the parent conference.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Sloth is the failed resurrection of the Elric brothers' mother, Trisha. As such, she attempts to kill her previous incarnation's children to assert her own individuality and convince herself that she is not Trisha — all while Wrath, a child Homonculus who's the failed resurrection of Izumi Curtis' unborn son, sees her as a mother figure. She may have decided otherwise right before dying, if her last words are a signal.
  • Hotohori's mother from Fushigi Yuugi, Lady Motaiko, is a former Gold Digger who did lots of bad things to make sure her son would be chosen as The Emperor. Ironically, she dies before Hoto ascends to the throne.
  • Kageyama Hiroko (the Countess Werdenberg) from the anime Gilgamesh, despite that she is apparently intended as a tragic and sympathetic character.
  • Oryou Sonozaki in Higurashi: When They Cry, Head of the Sonozaki Family (a Yakuza of some sort). Subverted; she is a complete Jerkass to her granddaughters and not too kind to her daughter as well, but is responsible for far, far less than she's suspected of. Shion's not convinced though.
  • Arima's birth mother Ryouko in the manga version of His and Her Circumstances, who not only got pregnant only to get money from her boyfriend's family (not knowing that he was The Unfavorite, but abused her kid to horrible degrees, prompting her boyfriend to take Arima to his eldest brother and his wife (the only Arimas who didn't hate him) so he could have a decent life.
  • Anne-Marthe dubut from Innocent by Shinichi Sakamoto is a good exemple. She manipulates both her sons, Charles-Jean-Baptiste and Nicolas-Charles Gabriel Sanson. She manipulated Jean-Baptiste so much that he allows her to run his life even though he is an adult with a stable job, married with children. Nicolas-Gabriel was neglected as a child by his mother, only to have her praise him in adulthood so he can be a "good little helper". To her grand-children, she isn't any better. She grooms her grandson Charles-Henri into becoming an executioner with a mixture of heavy Corporal Punishment and flattery and she litterally used a hot iron on the six year old Marie-Josephe. On top of it, she is quite dismissive of Jeanne, her daughter-in-law.
  • Karin's grandmother Elda Marker can come off like this at times, but, given that she's a vampire who spends long periods of time isolated from society (to sleep) and has an intense distrust of humanity because of the massive Trauma Conga Line process she and others went through decades ago... well, she is not very well in her vampire head.
  • Kichikujima: Mariko Glaccias Yoshikazu' estraged wife and Otoki Yoshikazu's mother.
  • Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill la Kill, the powerful head of the Kiryuin Conglomerate and Greater-Scope Villain of the series. A sinister Evilutionary Biologist that has used her own family in experiments and subjects her daughter to rather.....disturbing displays of affection. Little surprise that Satsuki stabs her in the back. Too bad it didn't take, since she's a Life Fiber-fused monster that can reattach her own head. And then there's what she did to her other daughter, and her husband, and... Ragyo is often considered the reigning champion of 'Anime's Worst Mother'.
  • Ren Gyoukuen from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic. She claims responsibility for the horrible deaths of her first husband and her two elder sons and later off-handedly wonders if she should kill her daughter as well. All in front of her youngest son, whom she taunts for being powerless to do anything about it. He is very screwed up as a result...and that's almost certainly intentional on her part. She's also The Usurper of an empire and the leader of an organization that wants to summon a God of Evil to kill everyone on the planet. Actually subverted since Gyokuen used to be a kind and good mother in the past, but she was subjected to Demonic Possession by Arba (the leader of the evil organization Al-Thamen and pretty much the Big Bad) and shit hit the fan from then on.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Original Big Bad Precia Testarossa is the definitive Evil Matriarch, especially in the TV series where she is nothing but cruelty incarnate when it comes to her daughter Fate. Later adaptations would make her more sympathetic (especially INNOCENT, which completely removed the evil aspect and made her a full on Doting Parent).
  • Lady Prospera Mercury in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury is the mother of the protagonist Suletta, and a manipulative, Affably Evil Char Clone who indoctrinated her daughter into acting as a pawn to further her goals to the point that Suletta sees her mother saying Because I Said So as a valid reason to commit murder. And Suletta got off easy; Prospera's favorite child was turned into a Gundam by her (albeit as an Emergency Tranformation).
  • Naruto gives us Kaguya Otsutsuki, the first person in the Ninja World to utilize chakra. In addition to being a tyrannical ruler, she viewed her sons as her property and did not want them to have any independence from her. After discovering they had inherited chakra for her, she sought to destroy them in order to regain the lost chakra, forcing them to seal her away. Before this, however, she created Black Zetsu, who manipulated the Uchiha Clan, who are among her descendants, into creating the Infinite Tsukiyomi, which revived her — essentially making her the Big Bad of the entire series. Upon seeing her descendants, Sasuke and Naruto for the first tie and noting their resemblance to her sons, she weeps out of lingering affection....and then proceeds to try to drain their chakra, declaring her hatred for her sons.
  • Certain fan theories regarding Neon Genesis Evangelion peg Yui Ikari as one of these, based largely on the fact that End Of Evangelion has a short flashback towards the end that reveals she knew, to some degree, what would happen to her after the Contact Experiment, but seemingly didn't know just how far off the rails Gendo would go to get her back, if the fact that Unit 01 bites Gendo's head off is any indication. This also means that she possibly knew what was going to happen to Toji and her son and how broken they'd be by the end.
  • One Piece has Charlotte Linlin aka "Big Mom", one of the Four Emperors. Despite her horrifying physical appearance, she has 39 daughters (one of which is to be married to Sanji as part of a political alliance with the Vinsmoke Big, Screwed-Up Family) and 46 sons, each of which she marries off in order to extend her power. This doesn't stop her from murdering one of her own children on a whim during a hunger-motivated, psychotic episode, plus actively encouraging her young children to be violent and psychotic- even against their own siblings-. Her son Charlotte Opera flat out notes that she'll consciously kill him herself if she finds out that he failed to stop Jimbei.
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers:
    • Technically speaking, Kasuga was merely Iemitsu the Elder's wet-nurse, but for all intents and purposes she was the evil matriarch behind the throne, who spoiled Iemitsu to the point of smothering, then, when he died without an heir, arranged for the mother of his illegitimate daughter to be murdered, kidnapped his illegitimate daughter, and forced her to pose her father until she could conceive a heir to place on the throne. To that end, she more or less imprisoned Arikoto to be the Glorified Sperm Donor and murders anyone who could reveal an impostor's on the throne. However, she actually has good intentions for going to such extremes: she lived through the Sengoku Period, and lost her family and home in the process, and was desperate to keep Japan from having another civil war.
    • However, she pales in comparison to Tokugawa Harusada, mother of Shogun Ienari. After copious amounts of kicking the dog to get to the top, she abdicates in favor of Ienari to be the power behind the throne without the need to produce heirs. She then proceeds to run the country into the dirt with excessive spending, drives out advisors for petty reasons, poisoned her loyal retainer, suppressed attempts to find a cure for the Redface Pox to keep herself and other women in power, and finally, poisoned her own grandchildren, and it's implied she did that because she was bored.
  • Tamaki's grandmother Shizune in Ouran High School Host Club looks down on him because he can't live up to her restrictively high standards for her family, and forbids him from seeing his mother. Oh, and Tamaki is the heir because his grandmother bought him, as Tamaki's ill mother Anne Sophie would quickly die in a life of poverty.
    • She may be worse in the anime. To her, Tamaki is nothing but a tool to marry off to the Tonaire family so that they can produce a legitimate heir. This doesn't bother Tamaki in the slightest, as he knows his grandmother despises him and already has dreams beyond the Suoh corporation.
  • The Promised Neverland has "Mothers" who knowingly raise human children to be eaten at People Farms for the demonic-looking creatures ruling over them. The villain of the first arc, Mother Isabella, appeared to be cold and ruthless when dealing with the children's escape attempts but genuinely cared for them in her own convoluted way.
  • Duchess Martine Gabrielle de Polignac is written like this in The Rose of Versailles. Her treatment not only of her daughter Charlotte, but of her illegitimate daughter Rosalie and other people, specially Marie Antoinette, goes beyond pale.
  • Gyokumen Koushu from Saiyuki took her biological daughter Lirin and gave her up to scientific experimentation in order to try and revive her locked away lover Gyumaoh. She also took her stepson and experimented on him to make him Brainwashed and Crazy. Also, Gojyo's stepmother abused and tried to kill him as a child, forcing her own son to kill her to save Gojyo.
  • The Supreme Deity from The Seven Deadly Sins is this to her daughter, Elizabeth. Her disgust towards Elizabeth falling in love with the son of the Demon King, Meliodas, is what drove her to strike a truce with her Demon counterpart to kill their children. After the deaths of Meliodas and Elizabeth, the Supreme Deity cared none as the Demon King cursed her daughter to constantly die and reincarnate over and over every time she regained her memories of her past lives, while she resurrected Meliodas and cursed him with immortality so that he would be fated to watch her die every time. This horrible treatment towards her own daughter stems from her Fantastic Racism against the Demon Race, and the only reason she made a temporary truce with the Demon King was to ensure that, through dealing with both Meliodas and Elizabeth this way, that there never be peace between the Demon and Goddess Clans, both wanting to ensure that the Holy War lasts for all eternity.
  • In Soul Eater, Medusa Gorgon is this to Crona in a twisted attempt to turn her child into the next Kishin. It all started when Medusa melted the Living Weapon Ragnarok into Black Blood and replaced Crona's blood with him, and it just spiraled down from there. As a form of training, Medusa forced Crona to kill animals and when they didn't comply she would lock them in a dark room with no food or water for as long as a few days until they did. Even when Crona's older, she has such a strong hold on them that she easily manipulated their emotions and desires so that they'd remain loyal and dependent on her out of pure fear. Fortunately in the anime, Crona found the strength to stand against her and officially join the good side. But in the manga, they weren't so lucky.
  • Kagura's mother, Shinzen Tennozou, in Speed Grapher. Not only does she constantly belittle and starve her daughter out of resentment because her husband/Kagura's father abandoned her and that was the corollary to her Dark and Troubled Past, she even goes out of her way to show that thanks to her Screw the Rules, I Have Money! mentality, there is virtually nothing anybody can do to help, until Saiga shows up (he has it hard).
    • In this case, it's more like screw the savior; I have money.
  • Jane in a certain anime version of Tarzan, Jungle King Tar-chan. Apparently Jane is a former model who turned into a big fat Gonk after marrying Tarzan. She is lazy, gluttonous, and brutal. Fully willing to unleash hell on Tarzan's groin when he steps out of line. One unconfirmed rumor is where she kills and eats a woman who showed interest in Tarzan.
  • From Wandaba Style, Furoku Tsutsumo, mother of Teen Genius Susumu, will go to any length to make her son admit that she is right and he wrong when it comes to space travel (she believes in furthering scientific achievement at any cost while he would rather try to find a way to launch a rocket that's environmentally friendly). Over the course of the series, she fakes a moon landing and makes it look like Susumu did it, blackmails his pilots into coming to the moon with her while neglecting to mention that there isn't a return trip, and nearly refuses to accept her son's truce when he comes to rescue them.

  • Both of the mothers in The Drowned Lovers (traditional, but arranged and performed by Kate Rusby) fit this trope, and both succeed in killing their children by their malice.
  • In Child Ballad The Famous Flower of Serving Men, the heroine's mother had her husband and in some variants her baby killed.
  • In Child Ballad The Lass of Roch Royal, the mother turns away her son's lover and his baby, although they will (and do) die in the cold weather.
  • In Child Ballad Willie's Lady, Willie's mother, a rank witch, casts spells on his wife so that she can not be delivered of her child but will die.
    Of her young bairn she'll neer be lighter,
    Nor in her bower to shine the brighter.
    But she shall die and turn to clay,
    And you shall wed another may.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Damian Wayne's mother Talia al Ghul falls here during Batman (Grant Morrison), taking control of her son's nervous system to kill his older brother/mentor Dick Grayson and then revealing to Damian that she had begun cloning him when it became clear to her that he was no longer doing what she wanted him to do in Batman & Robin # 12. When Damian asked why she couldn't love him for who he was (showing a rare hint of Woobie-ism), Talia replied "No. I'm too much of a perfectionist" and declared him an enemy of the House of al Ghul, where he spent at least the first three quarters of his life. Oh, and he's ten. Culminates in Offing the Offspring when she allows the clone, Heretic, to brutally kill Damian. Of course she already had hints of this as she raised Damian to think he needed to kill Tim Drake to replace him in his father's household.
  • Edge of Spider-Verse (2022): Queen Mysteria angrily rails against this trope (in song, no less)... while she's setting a tentacled villain on people at a ball she threw with intent to kill, before obliviously attacking her daughter when she tries to stop her.
  • Jesse Custer's grandmother from Preacher is this trope taken to ludicrous and horrific extremes. She keeps her family imprisoned on a backwoods hellhole farm with the help of her degenerate and perverted henchmen, locks her grandson in a coffin underwater for weeks, and, of, course, tries to have her daughter killed.
  • Hound: In kidnapping Setanta as a baby, Morrigan causes the death of his real mother, Detira. She encourages Setanta to pursue what he's best at since then, referring to herself and him as mother and son. He eventually discovers that she's a cruel and manipulative goddess who wants to destroy his humanity for the sake of war and to restore her to power.
  • The Pride in Runaways is made up of six pairs of Archnemesis Dads and Evil Matriarchs. Interestingly, The Pride honestly believe that they are doing the best they can for their children: by destroying the world and allowing the Gibborim to remake it, they will be handing their children paradise. With one exception, the kids don't agree, and their interference ultimately leads to the deaths of all The Pride's members.
  • Cheshire of Teen Titans was responsible for giving birth to Roy Harper's daughter Lian. Over the years it's been up for debate as to whether or not Cheshire has been capable of genuine love for her daughter. Roy has made it clear he's raising Lian because he does not believe Cheshire can be trusted, and any possibility of getting in contact with her has been shot down. Black Canary once told one of Lian's babysitters that if her mom showed up, to lock the door and scream for Superman or any other hero in the vicinity. Finally, in Villains United, Cheshire conceived a replacement child by Catman, when Lian's welfare was held over her head to ensure her cooperation with the Secret Six. It's now entirely debatable as to whether or not any love Cheshire has for any of her children is just as a means to keep hold over their fathers, a superhero with connections to the Teen Titans and the Justice League, and a supervillain who is considered once of the deadliest trackers in the world. It's also likely the emotional and sexual trauma Cheshire suffered from a childhood in slavery is the reason why her maternal love is so hindered by her more psychotic behavior, as the love she feels for her children isn't enough to override her fear of being trapped again.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Vol 1: Queen Clea uses her own daughter as a disposable henchman.
    • Vol 2: One of the villain Queen Clea's most ardent enemies is her own daughter Ptra, who has teamed up with Wondy to defeat her tyrannical mother.
  • Also from Marvel, the mother of Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, Dorothy, had the slightly bad thing of making comics based on her daughter, who hated the notoriety those books brought her... and the outright unforgiving fact that she tried to bargain away Patsy's life in exchange for her own in a Deal with the Devil (well, A Devil), though thankfully, Hellcat's superhero teammates thwarted the demonic possession.
  • X-Men: Mutant terrorist Mystique. She really does love her children, but Nightcrawler's the only one she hasn't stabbed or shot note .
    • Emma Frost, depending on which side she's on; she is either with the heroes or fighting against them, or manipulating both sides for personal gain.
    • Minor villain Nanny is a Well-Intentioned Extremist version after being trapped in her egg suit and driven insane by her superiors when she rebelled against their anti-mutant plans. Nanny uses her Orphan-Maker, a mutant child in a suit of power armor, to go around "Saving" mutant children from their human parents so she can provide a better home for them (which includes raising them to become her soldiers). It's hard not to understand her motives when so many human parents do treat their mutant children like pond scum.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Brothers Grimm:
    • "Hansel and Gretel" also had an evil mother rather than a wicked stepmother in the first edition.
    • In "One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes", the mother cannot stand her second daughter because she has two eyes. So, she -together with her other daughters- strikes and insults Two-Eyes, forces her to wear rags and eat leftovers. Tellingly, Two-Eyes eventually forgives her sisters but not her mother.
    • In "Snow White" as the Brothers Grimm collected it, the queen actively abandoned the princess in the forest — telling her to get out of the carriage to gather roses and then driving on. In their first edition, they introduced the huntsman to tone it down. After that, they turned to the Wicked Stepmother.
  • In Charles Perrault's "Diamonds and Toads" -a French version of "Mother Holle"-, the evil mother favors the daughter who's like her, and hates the one who's like her father. Originally explained that the younger daughter was mistreated because she was the stepdaughter. Perrault changed it to have an evil mother to make the story less similar to "Cinderella".
  • Madame d'Aulnoy:
    • "Belle-Etoile": The heroine's paternal grandmother conspires to get rid of her grandchildren because she does not approve of her sons' wives. Averted with Belle-Etoile's maternal grandmother, who is accepting of her daughters' husbands and is happy to be reunited with her grandchildren.
    • "The Pigeon and the Dove": Constancio's mother is described as "the most wicked and vindictive princess in the world" and very much lives up to it. She threatens to kill her son's beloved Constancia in front of him, sends scorpions, toads, and snakes after her, sells Constancia into slavery, and even holds a mock funeral for her when Constancio believes that she is dead.
  • Armenian tale "Nourie Hadig" (here) and Joseph Jacobs' "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree" also feature an evil mother.
  • Andrew Lang's "Paperarello": The titular character's mother conspires to get rid of her own son.
  • Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "The Three Flowers": Main character Katie gets married to a wealthy hunter. However, her mother-in-law utterly hates her and is constantly abusing her. The woman is so determined to make Katie's life miserable that she murders Katies's newborn babies and frames Katie.

    Fan Works 
  • An Alternate Keitaro Urashima: Granny Hina proves to be a complete Manipulative Bitch who only cares about others insofar as she can get whatever she wants out of them. When her plans to trick her grandson Keitaro into taking over the Hinata Inn fall through, she brazenly exploits Haruka's misfortune in order to force her into the role, all so she can continue traveling around the world and doing whatever she pleases.
  • In Chi and Chakra, Nodoka Saotome is a complete Control Freak who expects her daughter Ryoko to obey her every order, or else commit ritual suicide to atone for her "failures".
  • Destiny Intertwined: Isrun, Matriarch of Clan Frostspear, is cold, controlling, and domineering, ruling her clan and progeny with an iron grip but showing little emotional concern even if they are harmed in front of her.
  • Flashpoint 2: Advent Solaris has Lady Mairghread, Elise's corrupt & abusive aunt — as well as Granny Goodness and Talia al Ghul.
  • Downplayed in For His Own Sake: Granny Hina has good intentions, but refuses to recognize or accept that her efforts to help the Hinata Girls are ultimately doing more harm than good, as her constant enabling of their worst issues has created a toxic environment at the Hinata Inn. She has a few Ignored Epiphanies about this, including recognizing that her actions are driving her grandson and the rest of her family away, but ultimately convincing herself that they're to blame for not doing what she demands.
  • Hakumei: The only reason Mikoto wants her son Sasuke back is so she can use him as a political pawn.
  • Princess Celestia from How I Lost My Mother who in this story is revealed to be the mother of Cozy Glow: whom Celestia had banished just days before Lunas' return along with erasing all knowledge pertaining to her daughter from the public in order to protect Equestria from a vision of Cozy destroying Equestria. Only afterwards did she realize that the Prophecy was of the Self-Fulfilling nature, and that by doing this actually drove her daughter to the brink of insanity; coupled with Celestias' constant attempts to prevent her relationship with Cozy Glow from being discovered through her strict adherence to both Blue-and-Orange Morality and Out of Sight, Out of Mind slowly building up to a point where all of Equestria will eventually turn on her and Luna eventually abandoning her for not being able to change since 1000 years.
  • The Immortal Game has Queen Terra, Celestia and Luna's sociopathic mother.
  • The King Nobody Wanted: Urrigon paints his late mother as this for the Iron Islands. She shaped her older sons' ambitions of conquest, and engaged in dark magic. Urrigon says she also killed her husband's first wife (by knocking her off a bridge the same way that her son Balon is killed in the books) as part of Euron's InheritanceMurder and stepsons (one of them by exposing him to greyscale, although, according to canon, Euron finished that son off).
    Urrigon: When the history of my brother's revolt gets recorded, the maesters and singers will search for causes to wring some sense from it. And the true cause was Ingraboda Sunderly [whispering] ambition to her eldest sons in the cradle, and fed it to 'em with her milk.
  • Brigit Stark, Cinder Fall's mother from My Name Is Cinder, was an abusive, gold-digging, sociopath. She drove her husband to suicide for his money, threatened to make Cinder's life miserable if she exposed her true nature, turned her other two children against Cinder, and lived up to that threat by constantly beating and starving Cinder.
  • Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu from Nobody Dies is most certainly this; one of her main goals in life seems to be the prevention of Asuka's ever developing the delusion that she's actually a worthwhile individual.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has Heratia, the mother of the Seven Brothers of Orre. Each of them grew up to become a notorious criminal in his own right (barring one who managed to escape from her), but she was way worse to them when they were children, forcing them to learn skills she could use to commit her crimes (like reading complex languages, use of weapons and Pokémon raising), and punishing them whenever they failed. Unsurprisingly, as soon as they saw the chance they killed her in retaliation.
  • The Pony POV Series has Discord's mother Entropy, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Heat Death. As such, she's an Omnicidal Maniac by job description, and therefore has no care for anything, least of all her children. Hell, she erased one of her children from existence because ___ talked back to her.
    • However, this is ultimately subverted, as it's revealed this was Celestia's somewhat bias interpretation of her. Entropy's actually a bit more complicated than that: She's the End of Suffering, the End of Tyranny, etc. and has ZERO love for murderers and OTHER Omnicidal Maniac types because She doesn't want anything to end before its time. And it turns out she erased ____ because he was trying to kill off Nature's Law, which would've more or less wrecked the universe.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Solvernia, the secondary villain Cinoshisa, Viral's rival in Lordgenome's army, is a ruthless commander. But she's actually Kali Bachika, mother of Kittan, Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal. She betrayed her village to the beastmen but couldn't kill her own children herself, so she abandoned them to die. Later, when she meets Kinon, she can't kill her again. Though her children don't know that Cinoshisa and Kali are the same person.
  • Ultra Fast Pony portrays Granny Smith as the head of the Apple crime family. Aside from the offscreen villainy she presumably engages in as a mob head, she alternates between messing with her granddaughter Apple Bloom's head and peeing on her. She even casually mentions that she used to eat babies.
  • What Goes Around Comes Around (Miraculous Ladybug): Emilie turns out to have been just as wicked as her husband Gabriel, and wastes no time proving this the moment she wakes up, immediately manipulating her son into entrusting her with the Black Cat Ring. Something she later berates him for as part of her Breaking Speech.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barbie as the Island Princess, Queen Ariana uses her daughter Princess Luciana as a pawn to get back at her nemesis King Peter.
  • Combine this with possessiveness reminiscent of a Yandere but without any of the affection and One-Winged Angel and you get the Other Mother from Coraline.
  • Disney loves these, and plays them straight, usually as Wicked Stepmothers:
    • The Wicked Stepmother (Lady Tremaine) from Cinderella, who uses extreme Parental Favoritism towards her two lazy, unpleasant biological daughters (thus being the one to blame for them being the way they are) while almost reducing Cinderella to a serf while living in her late husband's house. In the direct-to-video sequels, she's even worse: when one of her daughters starts developing a conscience, she immediately traps her as a pawn for her plans against Cinderella...
    • And in the film Dumbo, the oldest cow elephant that constantly pesters the titular character is named, "The Matriarch." (In real life, elephant herds are actually led by an elderly cow elephant called a matriarch.)
    • Queen Narissa from Enchanted, who tries to sabotage her son Edward's marriage so that she can remain in power.
    • Zira, from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, raises Kovu to exact revenge for Scar, in addition to she herself leading a pride against Simba's.
    • The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, who wants to kill Snow White to remain the most beautiful woman in the land.
    • Mother Gothel from Tangled. She's not Rapunzel's biological mother; rather, she kidnapped Rapunzel for her Fountain of Youth properties, and has kept her hidden in a tower for years while psychologically abusing her and only caring for her hair aka the source of her powers. And that's not even getting into her abandonment of her actual daughter Cassandra as revealed in Tangled: The Series.
  • Hydia from My Little Pony: The Movie (1986). She does nothing but mistreat her daughters, going so far as to even punish them for calling her "mama". Since Reeka and Draggle get quite the Character Development and especially since they seem to be punch clock villains rather than actually evil, it's actually hard not to feel bad for them. (Specially Draggle since she's the one who gets treated worse.)
  • In Turning Red, Wu is somewhere between this, Iron Lady, and a Grande Dame. She's old, very dignified, sets impossibly high standards, and insists absolutely that things be done according to custom. On the other hand, she isn't evil, just rigid and old-fashioned in her view of life. However, she's also surprisingly open-minded: when all the Lee women gather on the astral plane, Wu is the first to acknowledge that Mei has a right to make her own choice about her panda spirit.
  • White Snake (2019): The Master of the Snake Clan pretends to be a benevolent leader, she's actually planning to absorb the energy of all her subjects once the threat of The General and is dealt with.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Punisher (2004), the Big Bad's wife is this. When one of her sons dies at Castle's hand, she is the first who insists on bloody revenge on Castle's family, to which her husband asks if she's sure before issuing the order. This was Frank Castle the cop, and the son was accidentally killed during a shootout. In the movie-verse, this is actually what turned Frank into The Punisher.
  • Rose Chasseur in dark Christmas comedy The Ref is the first type. She is such a massive bitch on wheels that even the hardened criminal Gus is appalled at how mean she is, and her own grandchildren take delight in helping Gus tie her to a chair.
  • Serial killer Jacob Goodnight's mother in See No Evil was an insane and extremely religious person, who raised him through abuse to be a "Hand of God".
  • Stations of the Cross: Maria's mother berates her daughter and leaves her ashamed of her appearance, her growth, and her friendships. The contrast between her religiosity and her monstrosity towards her daughter is only made more clear by the fourth scene where she takes the place of the Virgin Mary, only to act without any of the mercy or compassion characterized by the saint.
  • Helen Jorgenson, Sandra Dee's mom in A Summer Place, is a frigid, bigoted, social-climbing, husband-and-daughter-hating bitch. Her mother seems, from what little we see of her, to be every bit as bad.
  • A Wedding (1978): Nettie Sloan employs a doctor who supplies one of her daughters with heroin, forces said daughter's husband to hide the fact that he used to be a waiter and never see his family, and forbids one of her other daughters and her African-American lover from spending time together in public.
  • Leyla and Nina's mother in When Darkness Falls. It wasn't the family's father who set up murdering Nina to regain the family's honor, but her. Leyla later explains to a police officer why her mother did this:
    Leyla: If you gave birth to a whore you are a whore yourself. But if this whore doesn't exist, if she never existed...
  • Marietta Fortune in Wild at Heart is a particularly deranged example.
  • Queen Bavmorda in Willow is not only an evil queen but a bad mother to her daughter Sorsha.


By Author:

  • Diana Wynne Jones liked this type of character a lot; even if they could change you into a rabbit, their terrifying power usually derives from the ability to sweetly and serenely put you in the wrong, no matter how sure you were that you had right on your side. She said in interviews that she drew inspiration from one of her actual relatives.
    • Dogsbody: Kathleen lives with her uncle, his family, and her evil step aunt who works her like a dog, verbally abuses her, and threatens to kill her dog on a regular basis.
    • Black Maria (also titled Aunt Maria): While Aunt Maria seems like the sweet lady who runs the local ladies gatherings, she actually tries to groom the narrator, Mig, as an heir. Along the way, she turns Mig's brother into a wolf, brainwashes their mother to not notice his disappearance and act as the housekeeper, has Mig eventually sent to be locked up with the town "orphans" (another one of her plots — they're actually the children of the townsfolk who Maria is trying to control), and eventually it is revealed that she turned her own daughter into a wolf after they had an argument. And the daughter was killed when Maria tried to get Mig's brother shot in a wolf hunt.
    • Fire and Hemlock: Laurel, depicted as a youngish Evil Matriarch who dominates everyone in the extended family based in the mansion where Polly met Tom Lynn. (Tom included; she's said to be his ex-wife.) She's actually the Queen of the Fairies. Which doesn't lessen this trope one bit.
    • True to form The Tough Guide to Fantasyland lists this as one of the most vicious varieties of bad queen you will meet in Fantasyland.
  • A lot of V. C. Andrews' stories contain this:
    • Olivia Foxworth, the terrifying grandmother from Flowers in the Attic. She convinces her daughter to hide her four children in the attic of the family mansion in order to avoid being erased from the family line of inheritance. The children are starved, beaten, and terrorized by the grandmother, and eventually neglected. It later emerges that Grandmother, in combination with her daughter schemed to kill the children by poisoning their food with arsenic. She is somewhat redeemed in one of the sequels, although this may be partial Canon Discontinuity because it was completed by the ghostwriter who succeeded Andrews after her death.
    • Olivia Logan in the Logan Series.
    • Lillian Cutler in the Cutler Series.

By Title:

  • The 39 Clues: Isabel. Kabra.
  • In Jo Walton's Among Others, Mori's mother is an evil witch, and Mori's sister has already died thwarting her.
  • Books of Kings:
    • Queen Jezebel is portrayed as being a bad influence on her sons even after two of them became kings.
    • Queen Athaliah took this to another level, when she tried to have all of her own grandchildren killed. Supposedly, she did that to keep all the power to herself. Only one of her grandsons survived.
  • The Silver Queen, Yambu, was the Big Bad of the first two volumes of the Book of Swords. Among her other acts, she sold her only child, Ariane, into sex slavery. She would have killed her, but for unfavorable auguries.
  • The Ancestress from Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds. A former imperial concubine, she murdered the emperor and ruled China through their son. When a successful rebel overthrew and killed her son, the rebel spared the Ancestress as well as the dead emperor's daughter. She sets about arranging to breed sons from her granddaughter, so she can force them to retake the crown.
  • In A Brother's Price, all organized crime is expected to be managed by an evil matriarch, as families are very close, and usually all members of a family are brought to court for a crime one of them committed. Rank is determined by age, the eldest sister in a family is named Eldest and becomes Mother Elder when she has her first child. The evil matriarch in any given family of criminals is therefore the Mother Elder. Strictly enforced discipline, and the fact that criminal individuals are thrown out of lawful families, more or less guarantees that a family that turns to crime will have an evil matriarch in charge. The villains actually murdered their own mothers (who were in on the conspiracy, so likely evil matriarchs themselves) in order to shut them up, as the family "doesn't age well" and tends to senility. The main villain has already one child, and is the Eldest of the family, so she is well on her way to becoming an evil matriarch herself.
  • Carrie's mother Margaret White. A religious fanatic who fiercely abhors everything even slightly related to femininity and female sexuality, and who sees her psychic daughter as nothing but an abomination and a shameful reminder of that one dreadful time when her husband had his way with her. Needless to say, this ends horribly.
  • In The Caster Chronicles, Lena's mother is Sarafine, who is considered one of the Darkest Casters ever and proves this by very briefly killing Ethan in Beautiful Creatures. Then she gets worse.
  • Adelaide French from The Cavaliers Series is the wife of Augustine, the most powerful vampire in existence. As a result, despite having only been turned less than twenty years ago, she commands a lot of power, respect, and even fear amongst The Cavaliers, her husband's secret society. Her human daughter, Harriet French, is the series' main protagonist. Adelaide is desperate to see her daughter turned by an eligible Cavalier and as a result, she forces her daughter's weaker love interest to pretend to hate her and removes her daughter's protection from mind control so that she can be mesmerised into falling for the "right" person. The fact that the "right" person killed her niece and attacked her daughter before knowing who she was doesn't seem to bother her. She's also ruthless about getting what she wants more generally and is scathing of anyone who doesn't live up to her high standards. On the other hand, despite going about things the wrong way, she seems to genuinely love her daughter and believes that she has her best interests at heart.
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: In Outcast, the fourth part of the series, it's revealed that Seshru the Viper Mage is Renn's mother. Seshru gave birth to Renn only so that she could make her newborn her personal tokoroth. After that failed, Seshru wasn't anyhow interested in Renn, who in turn knew of her bloodline since her father's death and refused to study Magecraft due to her mother's legacy as a Soul Eater. It's not before Outcast that Seshru realizes their connection, but she merely sees it as a tool to drive a wedge between the heroes. Not only that, but the sequel series reveals that Seshru managed to create a tokoroth out of Renn's younger half-brother Naiginn who becomes the new Big Bad.
  • The empress Tatrini Malagash in The Chronicles of Magravandias is respected and feared by all of her sons (and The Empire at large), especially knowing she only has ambitions for one of her younger sons, Bayard. The rest of them know themselves to be expendable if they get in her way without the resources to fight her.
  • Subverted in Coraline. Her mother seems like a Jerkass at first, but that's only until Coraline meets her Other Mother...
  • In the Forgotten Realms franchise, Drow society is matriarchal, and Drow are Always Chaotic Evil, resuting in a whole lot of these. This is exemplified in Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy by Drizzt's mother Malice Do'Urden. She's introduced ready to be delivered of Drizzt, immediately whereafter she attempts to sacrifice him to her evil goddess.
  • Michael Wenton-Weakes's mother in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, at least according to Michael.
    Michael usually referred to his mother as an old battleaxe, but if she was fairly to be compared to a battleaxe it would only be to an exquisitely crafted, beautifully balanced battleaxe, with an elegant minimum of fine engraving which stopped just short of its gleaming razored edge. One swipe from such an instrument and you wouldn't even know you'd been hit until you tried to look at your watch a bit later and discovered that your arm wasn't on.
    • In fact, Lady Wenton-Weakes is simply the opposite of a Beloved Smother; she thinks Michael has been horribly spoiled by his father, and hopes that selling his magazine to someone who might actually make something of it may encourage him to grow up a little.
  • Discworld:
    • Nanny Ogg is not very evil, but she rules over the entire Ogg clan (a massive family whose family tree is described as being closer to a mangrove thicket). She's quite benign and verges on My Beloved Smother for most of her family... except for her daughters-in-law, who cook for Nanny Ogg, clean for Nanny Ogg, and pray to the gods that Nanny Ogg doesn't come home from a vacation and find the slightest thing out of order. Famously, Nanny Ogg has never learned or remembered the names of any of her daughters-in-law.
    • In Hogfather, having an evil mum is the backstory of one of Teatime's thugs. She's dead and he's still more afraid of her memory than he is of Teatime. According to professional lockpick Mister Brown, this is entirely justified: he himself considers Teatime little more than a posturing thug next to her.
  • In the prequels to the Dune series, Duke Leto Atreides' mother, Helena, is generally a thorn in the side of the Atreides household, and hatches a plot to kill her husband, the Old Duke Paulus. She is eventually exiled to the Sisters in Isolation to spend the rest of her life.
  • Evillious Chronicles: Prim, although this isn't expanded on until the revelations in Praeludium Of Red and Praefacio Of Blue where it becomes apparent she raped the king of Lucifenia and used the resulting child as little more than a spy slave, manipulated every aspect of her son's life to make him a king he didn't want to be (including letting him get possessed by a demon), and triggered 20 years of international warfare just to get back at a former friend, who was already dead halfway through those 20 years.
  • In the novel Goya by Lion Feuchtwanger, Maria Luisa of Parma, consort of King Charles IV of Spain, clearly fulfills the "matriarch" part, being the mother of fourteen children and largely controlling her husband, but is probably far too stupid and besotted with her favourite, Manuel Godoy, to be truly considered evil.
  • Grinny, in the children's book of the same name by Nicholas Fisk. She's a great-aunt, not a grandmother, and comes across as a Cool Old Lady, but the children hate and fear her anyway because there's something frighteningly off about her. And how come they've never heard of her before she showed up on the doorstep?
  • Harry Potter:
  • The Haunting: Great-grandmother Scholar is largely crotchety, but her darker nature comes out as it's revealed that she neglected and browbeated Great Uncle Cole in an effort to get him to forsake his magic.
  • Marisa Coulter from His Dark Materials wishes to have her daughter live with her, but isn't beyond killing her when she learns her offspring is the chosen one. At least initially. Regardless of how much she tries to redeem by the end of the series, Lyra never stops viewing her as an enemy.
  • Livia from Robert Graves' I, Claudius is the Evil Matriarch ramped up to x1000. She poisons/murders no less than 6 family members (including her husband, Emperor Augustus) in her scheme to set up her son as the next Emperor of Rome. (And she doesn't even do it just for him, she also does it as part of a scheme to become deified after her death, and thus become an immortal goddess, to escape punishment in the afterlife for her crimes.)
  • InCryptid: Ingrid is Sarah Zellaby's biological mother. Seeking a new world for the cuckoos, an invasive predator species, to infest, Ingrid orchestrates an elaborate plot to turn Sarah into an Apocalypse Maiden and tear a hole between dimensions. Uncaring that this would destroy Earth and fry Sarah's mind, Ingrid plans to use her as a sex doll to breed new super-powerful Johrlac queens. Ingrid also reveals that she had Sarah for the sole purpose of creating a Johrlac queen, and was behind the murder of her foster parents that led to Angela adopting her.note  She also ordered the murders of the family who lived in the house that the hive randomly chose as a base of operations.
  • The grandmother in L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill manipulated her beloved daughter Robin into leaving her husband and taking her daughter, Jane, with her. She doesn't really like any of her other children, runs Robin's life, and does everything in her power to make Jane feel worthless.
    • And Mrs. Kent from the Emily books - Mrs. Kent, who loves her son Teddy obsessively, bitterly hating anything that Teddy loves. This includes his friends, his art, and his dog (which she may have even poisoned). Apparently she's kind and gentle to Teddy, but outright strange to everyone else (well, she has a Freudian Excuse).
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Not quite a matriarch, but it's hard not to think of Bertie Wooster's Aunt Agatha, "who eats broken bottles and turns into a werewolf on the full moon."
    • Nearly all P. G. Wodehouse aunts are like this, but a character who fits the trope more exactly is Lady Julia Fish in the Blandings Castle novel Heavy Weather, who despises (though she loves) her son Ronnie and tries to break his engagement to chorus-girl Sue Brown.
  • The Second Wife from Auntie An-mei's childhood in The Joy Luck Club. Let's see, she got the First Wife addicted to opium, leaving her a shell of herself in constant religious agony, rules Third Wife like a puppet, had her husband rape an innocent guest to get him his Fourth Wife, and then arranged for a Fifth Wife whose greatest purpose would be to make Second Wife look better. And when Fourth Wife had a son, Second Wife claimed him for her own.
  • Joe Pickett: Brenda Cates in Endangered. She has all of the men in her family bent to her will and willing to commit murder for her.
  • Eleanor Iselin in Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate. Having waaay too much political ambition, she manipulates and discards men, including her neurotic, brainwashed son, without hesitation.
  • Anne-Marthe from the Mémoires des Sanson (a semi-reliable source, semi-memoir, semi-fictional famous source) is described by the author(s) as "mad and cruel".
  • Also from Terry Pratchett, Daphne's grandmother from Nation. Among her quirks are keeping track of just how many people have to die before Daphne's father becomes king of England. When Daphne learns that all those people did, in fact, die, the first question out of her mouth is wondering if her grandmother did anything crazy.
  • The Mouse Queen in The Nutcracker, who is responsible for... well, everything.
  • Beth Jarrett, from the novel/The Film of the Book Ordinary People. While her motivations are made a bit clearer in the novel (she explicitly says that she isn't able to forgive her youngest son Conrad for the messiness of his suicide attempt, believing that the sight of all that blood was meant to kill her, too), the movie keeps it vaguer, merely implying that the death of her favorite son has left her unable to love anyone. This, coupled with the fact that she's portrayed by a Playing Against Type Mary Tyler Moore, makes her come across as a lot more evil.
  • Percy Jackson: Gaea is the ultimate evil matriarch — besides manipulating her children into killing their father, and then manipulating her grandchildren into fighting her children in myth, in,the series she is indirectly responsible for all the happenings of the first series (being the mother of Kronos) and directly responsible for all of the second: she leads the Giants, and the Titans are still in Tartarus, bitterly complaining that when their mother realizes that they are her first and better children they will be freed again. She takes the 'Matriarch' part pretty seriously too, and tries to manipulate her family members all the time— she once asked Calypso, as her granddaughter, to kill Leo in exchange for her freedom.
  • Regan Hamleigh in The Pillars of the Earth. A kind of Lady Macbeth type, she manipulates husband and son into doing her will.
  • Catherine of Medici, widow of Henry II of France, longtime regent for her sons Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III, and mother-in-law to the future Henry IV, is usually portrayed as an evil matriarch in fictional treatments of her era, the most famous of which are La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas and Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre ("The Youth of King Henri Quatre") by Heinrich Mann. Just exactly how evil this matriarch is made out to be beyond her involvement in the Night of Saint Bartholomew depends on the writer, but it certainly is quite common to accuse her of poisoning her enemies, since that is something many of her contemporaries suspected her of — after all, she came from Italy!
  • Oonagh of The Sevenwaters Trilogy, formerly an evil stepmother, becomes this once she has a son and granddaughter to manipulate.
  • Queen Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. Many of her villainous deeds stem from protecting her children, but mostly from a prophecy about her years ago. She would outlive all of her children who would die as kings and queens, and she would be overthrown by a younger queen, and killed by one of her siblings.
  • Geleth Pa'Dar in the Star Trek novel The Never-Ending Sacrifice. A product of the traditional Cardassia, where life was a struggle for survival on a starving planet, she is utterly ruthless and quite unrepentant about it. At one point, she suggests with total ease and in full seriousness that her son should have her grandson Rugal killed. Rugal ends up in an ongoing battle of wills with Geleth after coming to live in the family home. Finally, just before dying of old age, she shares her secrets with Rugal, which involve casually having an innocent man arrested and executed on false charges.
    • In Star Trek: Forged in Fire, Lady of the House Moj'ih would rather kill her albino baby than allow his condition to bring shame to the family. She is following Klingon custom here; the Honor Before Reason nature of her culture blunts the individual evil to some extent. She still fits the trope, though.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has Ta'a Chume, the queen of the Hapes Cluster, who arranges her eldest son's murder so that Isolder (the youngest) would take the throne. When her son found a fiancé who was pacifistic Ta'a Chume had her murdered had made it look like a suicide. Then she plans to seduce her future daughter-in-law's brother and kill him. Then after her son finds another woman and Leia marries Han, she tries to kill granddaughter and great-granddaughter because the former and her boyfriend (a.k.a. the latter's father) are Jedi. note  Jacen Mind Rapes her, ending her tyranny. Guess who becomes a Sith in a few years?
  • Tales of the Branion Realm: Melesandra DeMarian in The Stone Prince is a cold-blooded ruler who terrifies her son and heir by teaching him and her other children (by bloody example) to be as ruthless as her.
  • Tales of the Frog Princess Queen Olivine becomes this after the curse affects her when Chartreuse and Grassina are in their mid teens, and makes their lives miserable and tragic. While she doesn't plot anything evil on a large scale (she's already the queen) she doesn't allow her daughters to attend their father funeral and turns them into animals just to be cruel. On at least one occasion Chartreuse was very nearly caught and killed as a turtle. Oh, and she turns 14-year-old Haywood, Grassina's fiancé, into an otter. For at least fifteen years. And when they finally break that spell, they find Olivine has rigged it so that when he turned back into a man, Grassina would fall under her own curse, turning her into an ugly, evil old hag just like her mother.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The "bad mother" variety of bad queen, who's regent of her young son while bringing him up dependent on her. She'll maintain all her acts are on his behalf, but obviously does not intend to ever let him truly reign.
  • Mapleshade from Warrior Cats. What drove her to evil was when, after she was exiled from ThunderClan for having a RiverClan mate, her kits drowned in the river. Her mate blames her for this, and she ends up getting exiled from RiverClan as well.
  • Mrs Herriton in Where Angels Fear to Tread will go to any lengths to uphold the family reputation.
  • Gisella from S. M. Peters's Whitechapel Gods, who is little seen but for her effect upon Missy. She ran a brothel, taking in girls from the street that she personally mentally abused (to the point Missy hears Gisella's voice in her head denigrating her all the time), but subcontracted some more mental and physical abuse to John Scared, primary antagonist, nicknamed the "hobgoblin man" by the girls. Gisella would force the girls to drink something akin to a date-rape drug, so when Scared came by to properly "train" the girls, they experienced it as some kind of horrific nightmare from which they couldn't escape.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: Live Another Day has Margot Al-Harazi, widow of a terrorist who, alongside her family, is seeking to kill the U.S. President for agreeing to the operation that led to the death of her husband. She is also not above Offing the Offspring.
  • Jack Donaghy's mother Colleen on 30 Rock. He once told her that "there are terrorist cells more nurturing than you."
  • Luke Ramsey in American Horror Story: Coven has an abusive, overtly-religious mother. In one episode, she forces him to have a bleach enema, and it is probably not the first time. After he accuses his mother of murdering his father, she smothers him to death with a pillow.
  • Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development. She's even explicitly described as a matriarch a few times.
  • Mary Louise in season two of Big Little Lies. She refuses to accept that her son Perry was a wifebeater and a rapist, and harasses his victims Celeste and Jane. It is heavily implied at the end of the season that Perry was continuing the cycle of abuse he endured from his mother growing up.
  • Stephanie Forrester from The Bold and the Beautiful is a clear example of this trope, having spent 22 years trying to drive Brooke Logan out of her family after Brooke married both her husband and later two of her sons. Her worst crimes include hiring a man to make Brooke look like an unfit parent who eventually ended up raping Brooke (though to be fair, Stephanie had no idea what the man was capable of) and attempting to poison another woman who was pregnant with her son's child, thus making her guilty of attempted murder of her own grandchild.
  • Carmen Vega from the Breakout Kings episode "Where in the World is Carmen Vega?". Head of a drug cartel, she arranges the murder of one son so she can get out of prison to attend his funeral, where she stages an escape. She later murders the father of her second son.
  • While Penny Halliwell from Charmed is on the side of good, she heavily blurs the line of this trope. It's heavily implied she was a stern and strict woman to grow up with, one episode implies that she used her magic to get rid of a boyfriend of Prue's she didn't like. She's also shown to be very bitter and hostile towards men, bordering on emotional abuse: she was even ready to disown her own grandson for not being a girl. This is balanced out by her being heroic on various occasions.
  • In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca Bunch has such a dismal relationship with her mother Naomi that when they look like they are starting to bond her primary thought is "Maybe She's Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All".
    Rebecca: I used to think my mother was the worst, that if she didn't kill me, I'd kill her first.
  • CSI is fond of this trope, from an episode in the first season where a mother drowns her daughter on a carnival ride, and in the episode 'Forever', where a mother convinces her daughter and boyfriend to commit suicide.
  • Pops a lot in Hispanic Soap Operas as the typical castrating mother of the male lead, but the best and biggest one in malevolence is Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna de lobos. For her, "Family Name" comes before everything (including fortune and love), and because of that she is not shy in committing murder, lying barefaced, and manipulating everything and everyone around her. She even has an Eyepatch of Power which makes her look more sinister (and the patch is a plot point in itself)!
  • Desperate Housewives has several examples of bad parenting, but Gloria Hodge and Barbara Orlofsky really tie for the first place. The former went to awful lengths to make her son remarry his ex-wife, even planning his rape and attempting to kill Bree. The latter's alcoholism and cruel behavior turned her son Eddie into a serial killer.
  • Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, from Downton Abbey is a Machiavellian manipulator willing to go to considerable lengths to keep her family and its honor safe. Although her heart is usually in the right place, she plays up the part of Evil Matriarch for effect.
  • By the time of the Everybody Loves Raymond story, the condescending smotherer Marie dwells in a house directly across the street from her son's family and is constantly dropping by on her every whim and fancy.
    Ray: "Amy, here's how I see all this stuff. Mom loves the family. She really does. And—and, and she thinks it's her job to hold it all together. Does she overreact occasionally? Okay. So she wants you to write a few thank you notes, she's an old lady, what else does she have? (Beat) Besides, before even giving up a drop of power, she will truly kill us all."
    • It was actually Raymond and Debra who moved across the street from Marie and Frank, as revealed in a flashback episode. Raymond spent the episode trying to convince Debra not to do it, but gave up in the end. Debra regrets not listening to Raymond.
  • Davina Atwood First Kill is head of the Atwood family and the legacy vampire community as a whole. She's also cruel and manipulative, even to the family members she claims to like - when Elinor offers to save Davina's reputation by becoming betrothed to another vampire clan, Davina responds by pressuring her to cop to any demands given, including requirements for certain amounts of heirs.
  • Frontier Circus: In "Mighty Like Rogues", a family of thieves joins the T & T Circus and attempts to pick it clean. The main instigator is the mother, who urges her less willing children into crime.
  • Game of Thrones: Cersei Lannister is a deconstruction of one for Lannister-Baratheons until her father The Patriarch arrives in the city. While she genuinely loves her children (despite being an abusive mother) and would do anything to protect or avenge them, some of her actions prove to be a greater threat to the safety of her children than those of her enemies (who are often far more intelligent and competent than she is). In the end her last remaining child commits suicide because of her, but by that time Cersei is too far gone to even care.
  • Helena Cassadine from General Hospital. Head of a Greco-Russian almost-royal family, after the death of her not-so-loved husband Mikos, decided to get revenge and started killing for sport. Her unforgettable rivalry with GH's most famous super couple Luke and Laura, began when she cursed them at their wedding in the 80's. She reappeared again in 1996, with all the intentions to make life miserable to everyone in her family, especially her much hated son Stefan and her bastard step-daughter Alexis. Usually, when something evil happens in Port Charles, it's her fault. She stole, lied, cheated, killed, swapped DNA results, and even hibernated her beloved son Stavros (who everyone had thought had died, and thanks to her, appeared very much alive in 2001). Mortal enemy to Luke Spencer who tried to kill her more than once.
  • George Lopez's grandmother, both on the TV show and in real life.
  • Gilmore Girls: Once Lorelai Gilmore reluctantly re-opens relations with her mother, Emily Gilmore is quickly revealed not only as a near-definitional example of Type 1 (oh, how Lorelai and Rory dread those family dinners!) but has strong shadings of Type 2, as well.
    • Vengeance is gained when Emily's Type 1 mother-in-law visits.
    • Emily is often portrayed sympathetically, however. Though manipulative, she does really want what's best for her family, and much (though not all) of her and Lorelai's strained relationship comes due to either personality clashes or Values Dissonance rather than hatred.
  • Lily van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl (2007) shows this only in shades. However, Lily's mother, Serena's and Eric's grandmother, "Ce Ce Rhodes", definitely leans straight toward this trope.
  • Alcmene in Hallmark's made-for-TV movie Hercules. The mother of Hercules received some Adaptational Villainy, attempting to have her son Hercules murdered in his crib while he s still a kid, and after failing that, conspire to make his life a living hell. While she is mostly sympathetic example as result of being raped by Zeus (who brutally raped her in this version, instead of taking the form of her husband to bed her), she is far from a saintly person, serving as a mad high priestess that sacrificed men in the name of Hera.
  • Angela Petrelli from Heroes. All her actions have shady motivations and she's not above using her children if the end justified the means (even considering killing one son at one point).
    • In light of the events of V3, however, it's difficult to figure out if Angela was always such a Cold Hard Bitch, or became one after she found out that her husband had been mind-controlling her for years, mind-raping her into going along with the aforementioned (narrowly averted) Offing the Offspring.
  • Christine Jones from Home and Away certainly falls into Type 2. She has invaded her daughter's privacy, invaded the privacy of her daughter's teacher, attempted to use her daughter Melody as an example of Miles' apparent corruption of schoolkids (by way of Spring Awakening), taken out an AVO against Geoff, ignored the fact that Melody was raped, institutionalized Melody after her rapist died, withdrew her daughter from the subsequent counseling (causing a nasty case of anorexia), attempted an exorcism, and then kidnapped Melody. Parent of the Year award right there.
  • As mentioned in Literature, Livia Drusilla, magnificently played by Siân Phillips in the miniseries I, Claudius.
  • In From the Cold: Svetlana, who it turns out is Anya's mother, becomes her worst enemy, to the point of nearly killing her. She takes her own granddaughter Becca captive too, brainwashing her to kill people.
  • Shirl Hennessey in the Australian 1994-5 TV mini-series Janus (based on real-life criminal Kath Pettingill; known as Granny Evil, head of a notorious Melbourne criminal family).
  • Mags Bennett in season two of Justified controls all the marijuana operations in Harlan County, and while she seems like a nice woman, she is actually Affably Evil.
    • If you grow pot without her permission, she will send her sons to force you to put your foot in a bear trap
    • If you do something to hurt her business, she will have a nice chat with you and then give you some of her poisoned moonshine.
    • If one of her sons does something stupid that might expose the murders they committed, she will settle for personally breaking his hand with a hammer.
  • Whoopi Goldberg portrays a version of one in the Law & Order Franchise, running a center where she takes in and raises disenfranchised youths, primarily black. To the public she's a great philanthropist but in secret she's raised the young boys and men into thieves and killers to serve her using their love for her to manipulate them such that none of them can be convinced into speaking against her and will even kill themselves for her. As a result it is one of the few downer endings in the series where the police know her for who and what she is but are forced to let her go as they can't prove it.
  • An episode of Lois & Clark featured the mother of a deceased criminal known as "Bad Brain Johnson". To try and get her attention, her unfavourite second son built a fully functional mind control machine, to offer her the whole world as a gift. Not only was he met with equal disdain as usual, but not even the machine at full power could force her to tell her son she loved him.
  • On Lost, Jacob and MIB are fraternal twins raised on the island by "Mother", played by Allison Janney. She actually killed their real mother, a shipwrecked pregnant woman, right after they were born. She then lies to them about there being nothing across the sea and stops any attempt by MIB to leave, including killing all the shipwrecked castaways helping him. All so that either Jacob or MIB can take over being guardian of the island.
  • As mentioned above, Lois' mother Ida in Malcolm in the Middle. She was abusive to Lois and her sister as children and continues to terrorize them and their children in the present day, looking down on Francis for his criminal record and Malcolm for being smart rather than athletic. At one point she attempts to drug a rich old man into agreeing to marry her after pushing his previous girlfriend off the cruise ship they were on, and drugs the entire family (including her infant grandson) with opioids so they'd be in no condition to stop her. However, she does care for her family on some level, as shown when she loses her leg pushing Dewey out of the way of an oncoming truck.
  • Magnificent Century: Kösem: Safiye, Ahmet’s grandmother, is a wild schemer who schemes for Mustafa to take the throne, kills Kosem’s father and manipulates Osman into killing Mehmet.
  • Queen Mab, the ruler of The Fair Folk in the Merlin (1998) series, especially towards the title character.
  • Jane the "Nana from Hell" on The New Normal. She is racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic, as well as condescending and often directly insulting to her granddaughter Goldie and great-granddaughter Shania. When her grandson-in-law Clay cheats on Goldie, she threatens him with a gun. But later she attempts to hook him back up with Goldie when the latter moves to L.A. and decides to become a surrogate mother for a gay couple.
  • Erica Noughton, Julia's mother on Nip/Tuck: witty, intelligent, and a great person to have a drink with — unless you happen to be her daughter. It's heavily implied that her criticism and emotional absence are responsible for Julia's extreme insecurity.
  • Cora, the mother of the Evil Queen Regina herself, in Once Upon a Time. She has no qualms about putting a child at risk (by causing child Snow's horse to run away) to promote her agenda for her daughter's life, and when Regina wants to actually choose her own husband, Mom kills the man her daughter loves, then Mom strongarms her into marrying a man she's not interested in just because he's King.
    • When Red's mother shows up in season two, she seems like she's nice and supportive. She's not evil per se, but her Proud Warrior Race Girl and Humans Are the Real Monsters attitude puts her in direct contrast with her daughter. Her decision to go Bitch in Sheep's Clothing by killing Snow, who didn't do anything wrong, ends up getting her killed by Red.
    • Rumplestiltskin's mother is shaping up to be this. She is a legendary dark magical being mentioned several times throughout the show before her appearance. Thus far, her crimes include stealing babies on a regular basis, abandoning her child as an infant, laughing in his face and throwing him to the ground when he confronts her as an adult, stealing his and Belle's infant son, raising him away from his parents to be evil and kill Emma, and hospitalizing the Blue Fairy.]] And that's in the span of two episodes. It's likely season 6B will make the list even longer. She's a very literal matriarch too as she is also Neal's grandmother and Henry's great-grandmother, thereby making her indirectly related to the entire cast.
  • Margaret in The Order was a high-ranking member of The Order and a condescending Rich Bitch who plotted to murder prospective members to make room for her Spoiled Brat son who couldn't make it on his own. Which makes it all the more satisfying when she's executed by the same golem she used to do it.
  • Victoria Grayson, the matriarch of the Grayson family, from Revenge (2011) fits the second variety of this trope to a T.
  • Rome: Atia of the Julii is another ancient Evil Matriarch. She uses sex to get what she wants, verbally abuses her children and everyone around her, arranges the murder of her daughter's ex-husband (whom her daughter still loved), and sabotages her uncle's romance. (Oddly enough, some of these actions might have been prompted by a sincere desire to help her family, but her motivations are, for the most part, selfish.)
    • Servilia, from that same series, isn't exactly a paragon of virtue either.
  • Roseanne's mom from Roseanne started out as an Evil Matriarch, but eventually turned into The Ditz as she became a Recurring Character.
  • Barbara Eden played the Evil Matriarch of the Spellman Clan in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, whose appearances were usually preceded by something unexpectedly (insofar as the word can be applied in this show) freezing in anticipation of her icy demeanor. Elizabeth Montgomery, had she still been alive, might have been a more natural choice, as her character's mother on Bewitched (played by Agnes Moorehead) is archetypal of the Evil Matriarch.
    • The novelisations expand upon Hilda and Zelda's mother's personality and make her into one of these. In the show she already blatantly favoured Vesta over the two of them and heaped centuries of emotional abuse on Hilda. In the novelisations it's revealed she once turned a beau of Hilda's into stone because she didn't want Hilda to confess her secret to him.
  • Sharp Objects: Adora Crellin is a Silk Hiding Steel example. While she maintains a soft and breezy personality, she is a controlling and domineering mother and wife. She is also the leading citizen in the small town of Wind Gap and not afraid to throw her weight around.
  • Genevieve Teague of Season 4 of Smallville, to her son, Jason, whom she controlled through a mix of psychological torture and financial abuse, so thoroughly ruining his self-esteem that he can barely function without her. She's also the season's Big Bad, and Distaff Counterpart to Abusive Parent & Archnemesis Dad, Lionel Luthor.
  • Sons of Anarchy:
    • Gemma Teller Morrow, who supplies her son's junkie ex-wife with heroin (in order to damage her health or kill her, keeping her away from the new baby), smashes a skateboard into the face of a girl she suspects is sleeping with her husband, and just generally manipulates people all over the place. Depending on how you view her motivations, she takes it up to eleven at the end of season six, attempting to drown Jax's wife Tara for allegedly ratting out the MC to the police and wanting to take away Gemma's grandchildren, and when that doesn't work, Gemma settles for stabbing Tara to death in the head with a barbecue fork.
    • Even Gemma doesn't hold a candle in the authority department to the one-shot character Vivica, the matriarch of a group of Gangbangers made up of herself and her sons. When they go behind her back to handle a stolen guns deal so they could use the money to get her a birthday present, she is not happy and immediately Dope Slaps her boys, who are clearly terrified of her.
  • Livia Soprano from The Sopranos takes pleasure in tormenting people around her, especially her son Tony. She even tries to off him once.
  • In season 2 of Timeless, Lucy's mother Carolyn turns out to be a high-ranking member of Rittenhouse. She is one of the main villains of the season.
  • Charlie and Alan's mother in Two and a Half Men (as well as one of Charlie's girlfriends, much to everyone else's amusement and horror).
  • Played with in Up All Night episode named "Parents". Reagen dreads a visit from her mother, and is annoyed by her. Also, Reagen's mother is proud of how she brought up Reagen and writes a book about it, which annoys Reagen even more. Averted by the end of the episode, because Reagen's mother realizes what she was doing wrong after she has a heart to heart talk with Reagen and becomes more supportive.
  • The Wire gives us De'londa Brice, who forces her son to become a drug dealer to support her decadent lifestyle.
  • The X-Files: The mother of the Peacock family (Ma Barker meets Deliverance) in the episode "Home".

  • Riley's Mom in Less is Morgue is both this and The Dreaded. She speaks in Intelligible Unintelligible hyena-speech, has the ability to banish powerful ghosts and demons, and is a terrible mom. Riley describes her as "Sauron with boobs."
  • Both Martin and Gerrys' moms in The Magnus Archives fit this category. Martin's mom emotionally abused him his entire childhood because he looked just like his father, who abandoned them when she got sick. She hated him, and eventually decided herself to move into a care home instead of having to spend any more time with her son than necessary. Mary Keay (Gerry's mom) was even worse. She killed his father after he blinded himself to escape the Magnus Institute before he could even remember him, believing that a dead husband was more useful than a blind one. Throughout Gerry's childhood, she only cared for him as far as he was useful for establishing a powerful supernatural family legacy and was less excited to see him than the Leitner volumes he'd sometimes bring home. She isolated him from the rest of the world, keeping him dependent on her because he didn't know how to live a normal life without all of the strange supernatural things he'd grown up with. Even after she died, Ms. Keay continued to torture her son, having bound herself to the Skin Book and haunting him for years until Gertrude Robinson destroyed her page of the book and freed Gerry from his mother.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Omaroch's mother is the demonic Grand Duchess who wishes to unite the bickering demon hordes under one banner and use the demons' combined strength to enslave other races. The two clash, as Omaroch wishes to keep his non-demonic friends safe even if it means opposing his mother.
  • Santeria Decuir in The Gungan Council, a former Sith and the High Priestess of the Nightsisters. Also leads one of the largest families to ever appear on the site.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In an earlier adaptation of this period in history, the titular character from G.F. Händel's 1709 opera Agrippina is similarly preoccupied with securing the throne for her son Nero. Expertly manipulating everyone around her, she manages to maneuver around a number of setbacks — such as her husband, the emperor Claudius, surviving the shipwreck that was supposed to have killed him — at the expense of the only morally upright character in the entire piece. In contrast to the other Roman examples listed here, the opera's happy ending allows for Agrippina's scheming to be played for (admittedly pretty nasty) comedy.
  • Bernarda Alba from García Lorca's play La casa de Bernarda Alba ("The House of Bernarda Alba"). Even in the 1930, when all the values this woman embodied were still living in the deepest of Spain's countryside, she still managed to come as too oppressive, coldhearted, cruel, and smothering (and not only for her old maid), to the point of killing her youngest daughter, Adela, when she openly defies her and tries to run away... and then happily claiming "My daughter, she dies a virgin!"
  • In The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Beatrice takes her anger over her disatisfying life out on her daughters Ruth and Tillie.
  • It's no question where Amber in Hairspray got her Alpha Bitch personality from, with her mother Velma shown to be a racist bully.
  • The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute. She uses the Wounded Gazelle Gambit to engage Tamino to kill Sarastro, ostensibly because Sarastro has kidnapped her daughter Pamina. When that fails, she goes to Pamina herself and tells her to murder Sarastro, or forever be disowned. She doesn't even try to help her daughter escape.
  • The Oresteia. This is the play where a woman and her boyfriend plot to kill her husband, and then her children kill them.
  • Cleopatra, queen of Syria, from Pierre Corneille's tragedy Rodogune. Having two twin sons, Cleopatra is the only person in position to determine which one will be King and marry Parthian princess Rodogune. The tiny problem here is that she absolutely despises Rodogune and wants her dead. She tells her sons that the only way to win the crown will be by murdering Rodogune. When the play begins, she has already assassinated her husband but it's only the first step in her wicked game of manipulation, emotional blackmail and murder.
  • William Shakespeare of course also has a few:
    • Henry's consort Queen Margaret (of Anjou) in Henry VI Part 3.
    • Tamora, Queen of the Goths, in Titus Andronicus.
    • Arguably Lady Macbeth in the Scottish play, even though she apparently is not a mother.
    • Gertrude in Theatre/Hamlet may be one if the reader interprets Gertrude as implicit in her husband's death.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate II has the drow Matron Mother Ardulace, the political and religious leader of Ust Natha. As a part of her plan, she planned to use the eggs of the silver dragon to bribe a lesser demon lord to aid them in an attack on the elven capital Suldanessellar. She ruled with the usual drow cruelty – for example, when her own daughter appeared to be genuinely in love with a man instead of just using him and ditching right afterwards, she had her tortured until there was nothing left of her other than her ambition.
  • The Binding of Isaac has Isaac's mother, who one day has an epiphany from God (likely due to watching too much Christian broadcasting) and decides to sacrifice her son to the Lord. It's implied that she's done this before with other children. However it's ultimately subverted, as Isaac was an Unreliable Narrator and although his mother was a Troubled Abuser she never tried to kill him and has a complete breakdown after he's Driven to Suicide.
  • BioShock 2 has Sofia Lamb. A staunch collectivist that contrasts with Rapture's founder, Andrew Ryan, Sofia Lamb firmly believes in Tall Poppy Syndrome where any modicum of well-being above the common collective must be stamped out of existence. She uses her daughter Eleanor as a symbolic, and possibly literal figurehead for this cause, something that Eleanor is extremely uncomfortable with. Eleanor ends up fighting back incognito using the player character Subject Delta and the newer generation of Little Sisters, and then at the endgame does so in a literal sense. How Delta addresses both the Little Sisters he encounters as well as three other characters that have their own motivations for their backstory and how they treated Delta determines the fate of Sofia Lamb, at her own daughter's hands.
  • Queen Zeal of Chrono Trigger isn't evil just towards the world at large; she shows nothing but contempt for her children, using them as tools to acquire further power and disposing of them when they're no longer needed.
    • She wasn't always like this; it's implied that a combination of her husband's death and the malevolent power of Lavos is what corrupted her.
  • Diablo III gives us Adria, the Witch of Tristram. Despite being the secondary protagonist's birth mother and a traditional aid to the player character, she allows them to destroy two Demon Lords and their armies before betraying the player, killing several allies and using her own daughter as the vessel for her dark master, Diablo himself, to be reborn as the embodiment of all evil. She performs a double-bluff in some respects, as she is openly a harsh and unpleasant individual, and is not depicted as particularly charismatic or powerful — an average spellcaster at best. She is, however, a cruel liar, and uses her record of trauma and tragedy to draw suspicion away from her true agenda.
  • Flemeth of Dragon Age is Morrigan's mother and Ambiguously Evil at best, but she and Morrigan don't really like each other and fully expect to come to blows one day. Whatever affection Morrigan still had for her goes out the window when she discovers that Flemeth's immortality comes from possessing the bodies of her own children. After that, Morrigan asks the Warden to (temporarily) kill Flemeth while she makes longer-term plans. The third game complicates this: Flemeth, while still extremely manipulative, tells Morrigan that she could never have possessed an unwilling host, and is willing to let Morrigan (and her son, if he exists) go free.
    • It's heavily implied that Flemeth's treatment of Morrigan is more of Tough Love, judging her sorrowful reaction when Morrigan (particularly if she becomes a mother) angrily states that she will never be the mother Flemeth was to her/calmly telling Flemeth that Kieran will be better off without her just as she was better off without Flemeth.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives us the Affably Evil and matronly Jeannie May Crawford, mayor of the town of Novac, who sells the pregnant wife of Craig Boone, one of the town's guardian snipers, into slavery with Caesar's Legion and gave the Legion information concerning how to sneak past Boone while he was on duty to take his wife. It's implied Crawford did so because Carla, Boone's wife, made it clear she was unhappy with the small town of Novac and wanted to return to New Vegas, where she and her husband had met. Boone will give the player a quest that, if it ends the 'right' way, results in Jeannie May getting a Boom, Headshot! from Boone while standing right next to the Courier.
  • Played with in Final Fantasy VII. The main antagonist, Sephiroth, is carrying out of the will of his 'mother', the remains of a woman who belonged to the dead Cetra civilization. Sephy's info is a little out of date: The doctors who discovered the body assumed it was Cetra, as it was found at the site of their old home. The Shinra Power Company hoped to clone "her" and make the Cetra live again, but quickly realized that Jenova wasn't human at all: it's a mimetic monster who took on the guise of the Cetra to prey on them. Undeterred, Shinra sampled Jenova's cells to create a line of super-soldiers, the most successful of which was Sephiroth.
  • Queen Brahne from Final Fantasy IX.
  • Hilda from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Tortures her sister-in-law Tiltyu and her daughter Tinny for good measure (and if Tiltyu dies childless, she tortures her other sister in law Ethnia and her daughter Linda), and while she keeps saying it's to punish traitors, deep down, she just enjoys torturing. The result becomes obvious. Tiltyu (or Ethnia) becomes extremely broken and cries everyday until she dies from sickness, and Tinny (or Linda) ends up as a Shrinking Violet. And then, Hilda keeps pressuring her blood daughter and local Dark Magical Girl Ishtar to marry her boyfriend Julius, the Imperial Prince of Grandbell, just so she can get more links and power from the Emperor. And in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, it's revealed that even her husband Blume does not support child hunts... but she supports it wholeheartedly. But she makes the fatal mistake of underestimating Arthur (or Amid)... and Tinny herself (or Linda).
    • Succeeding Hilda would be Sonia from Blazing Blade. Not only is she sadistic and manipulative, but she constantly verbally abuses her adopted daughter Nino, and when she isn't doing that, she's neglecting her instead. It eventually comes to the point where she secretly plots to have Nino killed just after promising to hug her if she completes her mission. To hammer the point home, when Nino confronts her later, she freely admits to having slain Nino's real family when Nino was just a baby, and even says she would have killed Nino too had Nergal not told her to raise her.
  • Dorothy in Galerians is of the "so evil, she abuses her own loyal children" variety.
  • Kreia/Darth Traya in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was an Evil Mentor and surrogate mother to the Player Character, The Exile and the actual mother of their companion the Handmaiden. Kreia genuinely loved the Exile and spent the entirety of the game grooming them to be a Manipulative Bastard like her, while seeing her biological daughter as nothing but a pawn to be used and potentially discarded for the sake of Exile's development. Her apprentice before you, Darth Sion, shared a "Well Done, Son" Guy relationship with her. Loath though he is to admit it, he is desperate for his old master's approval, to the point where he will hunt down the Exile and kill them to prove that he is not the failure she believes him to be.
  • The Mad Queen in Malicious: this mother of two was once a good Queen, but then her children died by the hands of their own father, King Eldrake. The tyrant father inflicted death on his children and rage on his wife; from that point on, Queen Ashlelei turned insane and got the power to kill the King and of all of those who supported him. She too became corrupt over time and her two chilren were resurrected to fight against their mother.
  • Variation with Benezia in Mass Effect, as she is eventually revealed to be indoctrinated by Sovereign.
    • Benezia actually earns triple points for this: Not only is she an evil (alright, convincingly mind-controlled) matriarch, but she is actually called Matriarch Benezia (it's her official title); is a literal mother to one of the main characters (who she tries to kill, still not of her free will); and is even caught conducting mind control and breeding experiments on an insectoid race (which, if successful, would have made her a literal Hive Queen). However, her final words to her daughter Liara after having her mind cleared subvert this, saying that she's always been proud of her.
  • The titular character in the 2020 RPG horror game Mother. Once she realizes there’s not enough food for her and her four children, she kills off her children one by one and feeds the dead child to her remaining children. When the player character finds out what happened to their siblings, she attempts to justify her actions by saying it’s better to die by her hands than starve and freeze to death.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon has Aether President Lusamine, who not only conducted amoral experiments ranging from cryogencally freezing Pokemon to keep them "beautiful" to almost killing poor Nebby when using its power to open up a portal to another dimension, but also was an abusive mother to her children Gladion and Lillie, micromanaging every aspect of their day to day life and disowning them when they start to turn against her. Though in this case, she was also stated to be under the effects of Nihilego's neurotoxins, and Lillie says she was a genuinely good and caring mother before she researched too much into the Ultra Beasts.
  • Silent Hill seems to have a thing for this trope. Dahlia Gillespie and Margaret Holloway could very well be friends with Sofia Lamb, considering their willingness to torture, abuse, and sacrifice their own daughters in ways that makes the devil shiver. By far, the least awful mother in the series is Walter Sullivan's mother, who had the decency of just abandoning him in an apartment, rather than sacrificing him to some God of Evil, Eldritch Abomination, The Devil, or whatever the Order worships.
  • Duminuss in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Gaiden. Forcing her children that dedicate their lives to her to MERGE with her despite their own wishes, and later dismissed them as just mere pawns that she can throw away any time....
  • SHODAN from the System Shock franchise obsesses over power. She plans to rule the whole planet in the worst dictatorship possible: The extermination of all human life.
  • Various Final Boss characters from Touhou Project have shades of this, since the setting has an Improbably Female Cast. Eirin treats her disciple Reisen like dirt (mostly Played for Laughs); Yuyuko is quite eccentric much to Youmu's woe. Yukari uses Reimu and Kanako uses Sanae, respectively, in their proxy conflict for supremacy over Gensokyo. Inverted with Byakuren, who is a Messianic Archetype for her Youkai followers.
  • Mother from Wild ARMs definitely qualifies. She's an Omnicidal Maniac who gives birth to a group of children specifically for the purpose of destroying the worlds she visits, and then leaving them to burn with the planet when she's done. It gets worse. She devours her own son for the purpose of possessing him to turn him into a destructive monster like herself.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All has Pearl's mother and Maya's Evil Aunt, Morgan Fey, who plans to murder her niece Maya (using the spirit of her other daughter, Dahlia Hawthorne) so the Child Prodigy Pearl will become the head of the Fey clan.
  • Sable's Grimoire has Meave, the mother of Lisha and a manipulative, power-hungry dark elf who treats all of her children as pawns. In the base game she murders her daughter Lim for failing her. In the sequel Man and Elf, she forces her son Hagan—a child—to obey her commands through Mind Control, and plans to enslave Lisha after breaking her spirit through psychological torture.

    Web Animation 
  • The Most Popular Girls in School:
    • Mrs. Van Buren has shades of this since she eagerly helps Shay, Mikayla, and Deandra in their plots to humiliate the Cheerleaders, even lecturing them on the proper way to spike their energy drinks with laxatives and the correct time to do so.
    • Mrs. Zales, Played for Laughs.
  • Raven Branwen of RWBY, who is Yang's mother and constantly straddles the line between Byronic Hero, Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain. What is certainly true is that she is the queen of a ruthless bandit tribe and a dangerous woman with a Social Darwinist attitude to the world, and she will not even make exception for her own family if they get in her way.

  • Vidalia Blackford in Binary Stars seems like a typical aloof businesswoman of a mother to the protagonist, Anastasia, but after she's kidnapped her evil bonafides are made quite clear when she has two of the men keeping tabs on her daughter Thrown Out the Airlock.
  • Hazel Green in College Roomies from Hell!!!: Her children refer to her as 'The Dragon', and she lives up to the name, having them followed by her private agents, using brainwashing, blackmail and intimidation to manipulate them, and having her daughter's would-be boyfriend (and roommate of her eldest biological son) kidnapped, and implanting an explosive tracking device on him.
  • Deconstructed in Corner Alley 13, wherein drow society is revealed to be so backstabbingly treacherous (the Klingon Promotion being their standard method of electing new leaders) that even the nicest of matriarchs are forced to become vicious tyrants to keep their positions and their heads. The villain of the first arc turns out to be quite sympathetic because of this.
  • Destania and Cyra, Dan's mother and grandmother from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. They do, however, care for their family.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Lucrezia Mongfish, aka the Other, who is both the heroine Agatha's mother and the comic's Big Bad. It is heavely hinted that she sired her child just to be a vessel to use for Demonic Possession.
    • Also 'Grandmother', of the extended Valois family. Even the most scheming and murderous of the family seem to be scared of her. She seems fairly benign so far, but the reactions of people around her suggest that this isn't the case.
  • In Homestuck, Nanna Egbert and Grandpa Harley were raised by Betty Crocker after Grandpa accidentally killed her husband. This sort of thing is exactly why babies should not be allowed to dual-wield flintlock pistols. She apparently wasn't very kind to either of them, and was even harsher on Nanna when Grandpa ran away to explore the world. It turns out that she was the former empress of Alternia.
  • Jamie's mom from Khaos Komix, what with the way she knew that her son was being molested by his neighbor but didn't do anything about it other than move to a different town.
  • Athalie from Muted is the matriarch of the Severin witch family, and abusive to her daughter and niece with unrealistic expectations for them. Her foremost goal is to uphold the family traditions, and to reach that she stops at nothing not even murdering family members and sacrificing her unborn firstborn's soul to a demon for that. In a gut-wrenching scene she admits that she never wanted children, never loved her daughter and only got her because it was expected of her. Apparently, she got that way because her mother was an evil matriarch, too.
  • Nothing Special: The first Arc Villain turns out to be Callie's mother, Layla, a wood nymph, who's, well, a little out of sorts with reality. Killing any unfortunate mortals that wander into her woods and using their souls as "decorations". When Callie was conceived, Layla wanted to smother her in moss when she was a baby but Callie's father wouldn't allow it and spirited her away before Layla got the chance. Years later, Layla uses her plants to kidnap him and bring her to her wood which prompts the quest to find him and naturally a confrontation.
  • In the Dark Fic The Powerpuff Girls Reimagined, Sedusa was The Powerpuff Girls' biological mother and Came Back Wrong as a result of The Professor's experimentation with Chemical X, with her Split Personality turning into a Superpowered Evil Side that causes her to attempt Offing the Offspring while using their fears and insecurities against them.
  • Hannelore's mother in Questionable Content. Her visit is this trope non-stop.
  • Every mother that appears, or is even mentioned, in the web comic Ugly Hill, is one of these — often taken to ludicrous and downright scary extremes. One almost wonders if the author has some Freudian Excuse for this... or maybe it just comes down to the fact that every character in the comic is a literal monster.

    Web Original 
  • Toki originally, before she changed personality, but the imprint is still there.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Phase's mother Helen Hilton-Goodkind. When Phase manifests as a mutant, Helen turns Phase over to a Mad Scientist for experimentation. Phase is fully aware that his mother is never going to speak to him again.
    • Jean-Armand, a.k.a. Nephandus, has a mother much like this: while he loves her to death, she's not only controlling and dismissive of her son, she comes across as a total flake, and even he congratulates Nacht and She-Beast on dealing with her. In a much less comedic example, Nacht's mother (who actually killed her birth mother in order to raise her) is pure, absolute evil.

    Web Videos 
  • The 2018 15-second horror film, Last Number Dialed, has a young girl calling her mother while she is tied up and threatened by a masked maniac, only for her own mother to be revealed as the attacker when she reaches to answer the phone.
  • The mother of The Nostalgia Critic and Ask That Guy with the Glasses, who seems to prefer the manipulative Why Did You Make Me Hit You? kind of abuse to the more physical kind.
  • In Sam & Mickey's videos, Barbie's estranged mother, Margaret, has a snobbish and condescending attitude, and isn't above physically harming babies.
  • Mary Asher from Tribe Twelve might just be one of the most extreme examples of this trope. She gives birth to her son Milo with the intention of sacrificing him to Slender Man rather than actually raise him, forces him to take pills that make him a mindless husk, and ships him off to a mental institution after he attempts to stop taking the pills. And that's just the things she's done to her own son. She also murders Milo's biological and step fathers and tries to burn down her sister's house containing her young nephew Noah out paranoia of them being "Mr. Scars" (the one who's prophesied to kill her), and is generally dismissive and nasty towards anyone. It's no wonder that she is Hated by All of her whole family.

    Western Animation 
  • Malory Archer, the mother of Sterling Archer, who is the reason why Archer is...Archer. Malory has set up many awful and stupid acts (like killing the Prime Minister of Italy, or not paying her employees enough), and uses ISIS's own money for her excesses. Worst of all, she's trying to pass down her worst traits to her infant granddaughter.
  • Dr. David Dave's mother from As Told by Ginger.
  • Beatrice Horseman from Bojack Horseman, mother of the eponymous protagonist, blames her son's birth for ruining her life and leaving her stranded in a horrible loveless marriage, which led her to becoming a horrible abusive mother and heavily contributing towards Bojack becoming an extremely messed up individual with deep emotional scars. Season 4 goes into great detail explaining her backstory and humanizing her, but the show still makes it clear that regardless of what happened to her, the way she treated her son was not acceptable simply because she had a difficult life.
  • Zig-Zagged by Numbuh Two's Grandma Lydia in Codename: Kids Next Door. She's an abrasive Jewish Mother who serves as the matriarch of his family, using intimidation and Comedic Spanking to keep the kids in line while moonlighting as a supervillain (with a Humongous Mecha to boot). However, she only takes a real antagonistic role in one episode, which stemmed from a misunderstanding. The rest of the time she's shown to be close enough with her daughter Betty to be invited over on a regular basis (although Betty displays a bit of a neurotic side, potentially as a consequence of her harsh parenting style).
  • Mama Cosma, from The Fairly OddParents!, Depending on the Writer.
  • Futurama's Mom. (Pictured above.) Bonus points for having the hairstyle of Lady Tremaine.
  • In-law examples: Peggy's mother and Minh's father in King of the Hill.
  • Spoiled Rich, Diamond Tiara's mother from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. As "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" shows, her psychological abuse is why her daughter acts like an Alpha Bitch.
  • While Frances Clara Censordoll of Moral Orel physically can't become a mother thanks to her own mother removing her reproductive organs in a form of female castration, she regards herself as the matriarch of the entire town of Moralton. A town she is constantly playing Moral Guardian in. She once even ran for town "mayor-triarch". She withdraws upon realizing her opponent Clay has a massive oedipus complex and plays up to it to become his 'mommy' and manipulate him that way.
  • Odalia Blight from The Owl House is a powerful and amoral businesswoman who controls every aspect of her children's lives, including Amity's social life—she interferes with any friendship she deems detrimental to Amity, which is literally any genuine friendship Amity makes, leaving the poor girl stuck in a clique of bullies she can't stand being around until a horrible mistake with Willow's memories causes her to be dragged into Luz's circle of friends. She's also emotionally abusive to her husband, overworking him in Blight Industries under threat of getting the kids involved and showing no regard for his opinions. It's eventually discovered that she knew Emperor Belos was a genocidal witch hunter all along, but went along with the Day of Unity anyway because she thought the Blights would somehow be spared by virtue of their "superiority", and she's downright baffled when this revelation causes her family to sever all ties with her.
  • The High Priestess from Samurai Jack Season 5 is a truly brutal and chilling example of this trope. She is the leader of an all-female cult that worships Aku, and raised her seven daughters quite literally from birth to be her enforcers. She holds the dubious distinction of being one of the darkest villains in the show due to lacking the comedic quirks and Laughably Evil traits from previous antagonists, and setting the tone for Season 5.
  • Agnes Skinner, Seymour Skinner's mother, from The Simpsons. Downplayed in that she's not evil, just crabby, and even then, it's mostly only to her son.
  • Lady Imperia, the aunt of Prince Gerard, who in The Smurfs (1981) episode "The Clockwork Smurf" attempts to be coronated as queen in her nephew's place.
  • Sheila Broflovski on South Park, at least in earlier seasons.
  • The Diamond Authority from Steven Universe are a council of Galactic Conquerors that are called matriarchs of all of gemkind. While they are the gems' parents in a sense, they are ANYTHING but motherly. Except for Pink Diamond.
  • Another male example: The Warden's father in Superjail!. It should be a good thing he died long before the events of the series and is only shown in flashbacks. Combined with Jerkass.
  • Nerissa from W.I.T.C.H. is revealed in season 2 to be Caleb's Missing Mom. He's not happy.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Archnemesis Mom


Odalia Blight

Odalia is revealed to be well-aware of Emperor Belos' Final Solution for the Boiling Isles, and is willing to sell out all of witchkind just to secure his favor for the Blight family's future. Surely enough, both her daughter and her husband are none too pleased with her intentions.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheQuisling

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