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Evil Sorcerer

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Abra Ka-dead!

"Within the navel of this hideous wood,
Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries,
And here to every thirsty wanderer
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likeness of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
Charactered in the face."

The Evil Sorcerer is the living (or occasionally undead) proof of the maxim that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

They're the mage who has delved too deeply into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and mastered The Dark Arts. They've achieved great power, but at the expense of their soul. They deal in Black Magic and might well have made a Deal with the Devil. Evil Sorcerers are very dangerous foes, as they are creative as well as clever. From them, one can expect anything; hordes of demonic (Or Undead) Mooks as the bluntest tool, More Than Mind Control as the subtlest one, and anything between those two and beyond. They will probably be a Sorcerous Overlord, dwelling in an Evil Tower of Ominousness and ruling the land with an iron — but also magical — fist, though they may also show up as an Evil Chancellor, using their powers to subvert the throne more subtly.


The Evil Sorcerer nearly always gets top billing as a villain, as one of their most common traits is pride. Where they're a second-stringer, they're likely to only be one-upped by a demonic bargain gone wrong — probably because they cheated. This makes them prone to learning the painful lesson that Evil Is Not a Toy. They might also be upstaged by a God of Evil — but then, the most powerful Evil Sorcerers often have delusions of godhood themselves. In a villainous hierarchy, they'll most likely be the Big Bad, The Dragon, or the Evil Genius (though they could also be The Man Behind the Man or, if they're little loyalty to any particular faction, the Wild Card). Killing the Evil Sorcerer is one way to stop their Keystone Army.

The Evil Sorcerer can be at several levels of the Super Weight scale (depending on how strong magic is in a given setting) but he'll almost always be far more powerful than the heroes (unless they manage to get physical with them), and will probably be at least superficially stronger than their good counterparts (owing to possessing powers that they can't or won't use). If they're an Evil Archmage, everybody should watch out.


It's likely that every sorcerer will be this if Magic Is Evil. Compare the Wicked Witch and (for the more modern descendant) Mad Scientist. Female versions are likely to also be a Vain Sorceress. An undead Evil Sorcerer will probably be called a Lich.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk has a rare subversion with Daiba who is literally a turban wearing yogi, and initially starts off fighting Guts and his party under the command of the Evil Emperor Ganishka who he serves as adviser. But after his defeat he decides to help out Gut's friend Rickert and proves to be a highly valuable ally.
  • The first movie of Cardcaptor Sakura had Clow Reed's former student Madoushi, particularly in the dub (where she was also his girlfriend at one point).
  • Delicious in Dungeon has the appropriately named Lunatic Magician, the Big Bad of the whole series.
  • Babidi and his late father Bibidi from Dragon Ball Z.
  • Deltora Quest
    • Thaegan is a very vain and evil Sorceress who hates all things beautiful and free (especially birds and people). Though thanks to her powers she's beautiful despite hundreds of years old. Thaegan's redeeming qualities are the fact she's victim of the Shadow Lord and her genuine care for her hell spawn children which was apparent even in the books.
    • Filler Villain Oacus is nothing less than a evil mysterious Sorcerer who loves watching stuff burn and has a creepy fondess for young girls. Like Thaegan he is more just a byproduct of the Shadow Lord's evil, and wasn't born into it.
  • Zeref from Fairy Tail is a deconstruction: He Used to Be a Sweet Kid who just wanted his baby brother back, and never quite understood why researching the connection of life, death, and magic was so taboo. As a result of his curiosity and dedication to somebody he loved and cared about, he was cursed by a Jerkass God, and everything went downhill for him there. His turn to Living Magic was less about power for power's sake and more about ending his own life and saving his brother's. His actual Start of Darkness came after his curse "killed" the love of his life and he came to believe that Humans Are Bastards thanks to the unique prospective of Complete Immortality provides on the more unfortunate side of human nature that he truly became this.
  • Precia Testarossa of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who also has Mad Scientist leanings thanks to the Magitek setting.
  • The Mage of Beginnings from Mahou Sensei Negima!, the resident Big Bad during the days of Nagi's Ala Rubra.
    • In-story, most mages think Evangeline is like this, but those who have actually met her know that she's really not so bad.
  • Wagnard from Record of Lodoss War. He starts off as a normal man who's just a little too eager to gain arcane knowledge, but decades of dealing with the forces of darkness eventually turn him into a fiendish figure with pointed ears and claws. The wizard Groder edges on this trope since he ostensibly serves Wagnard, but he's more of a sympathetic Anti-Villain due to his loyalty to Ashram. Two minor characters, the evil cleric Gaberra and dark elf shaman Astar, also fit the bill.
  • In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, many members of Al-Sarmen qualify as this, but the most notable example is Judar.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In SnarfQuest, Snarf's principal adversary is Suthaze; a bald, bearded, evil wizard. He possessed a "magic time jumping glass" – an hourglass that could transport the user into the future for 72 hours – with which he would plunder the future for fantastic treasures.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Grateful Beasts, Ferko's brothers slander him, claiming he's this.
  • Aladdin is sent into the cave by one.
    • And then his brother (the sorcerer's, not Aladdin's) who's also an Evil Sorcerer shows up.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Child of the Storm has a number, with the most prominent examples being Voldemort and Gravemoss, the latter a specialist Necromancer and terrifyingly dangerous even before he got hold of the Darkhold. Pretty much anyone else who uses Dark Magic is this. Prominent examples past and present include:
    • Grindelwald - who apparently did a number of deals to amp himself to power levels generally described (by Loki, who would know) as 'god-like'. Strange stripped him of most of this power, flattening most of Berlin in the process, and left him and Dumbledore to fight on more even terms.
    • Kemmler, a mortal wandless Necromancer of immense power and evil who returned from the grave so often his coffin should have had a revolving lid. He engineered World War I to get raw material for his work, then popped up again during World War II, reanimating mass graves under Grindelwald's command. He was finally destroyed in 1962, triggering the Buin Zahra earthquake as a side-effect, killing over 12,000 people.
    • Baron Mordo, in this canon a wayward apprentice of Doctor Strange, and one of considerable power.
    • Doctor Doom might be this - no one's quite sure if he actually uses dark magic or not, but the aforementioned Mordo is his teacher...
  • In Keepers of the Elements, Radcliffe is one of these.
  • Queen of All Oni: In addition to the canonical Daolon Wong, there's also Lung, Blankman, and Monsieur Verde. Jade is also well on her way to becoming one, thanks to the Teachings of Eternal Shadow.
  • Titan from My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic.
  • Hago from The Lion King Adventures is one, complete with a cobra-headed staff and deep, rich voice.
  • Darth Vulcan from The Rise of Darth Vulcan. Gaining the Alicorn Amulet certainly helped.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Queen Bavmorda from Willow.
  • Profion from the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
  • The title character from the Warlock series of movies is a servant of Satan, tries to destroy the world, and kills and mutilates innocent people for fun.
  • Prince Loki in Thor.
  • Rasputin in the film adaptation of Hellboy.
  • Given that the movies are Heroic Fantasy in a Space Opera setting, The Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars could be described as one of these. This is a major temptation for Anakin Skywalker as well. Essentially, the Sith come in two flavors: those who are the Evil Counterpart of the Jedi, with an emphasis on lightsaber fighting and visceral use of the force, and those who are Evil Sorcerers, who tend more to the "create horrible twisted mockeries of nature" end of the Dark Side spectrum.
  • Sardo Numspa in The Golden Child.
  • Subverted in Sherlock Holmes (2009); Lord Blackwood is a practicing occultist, highly ranked member of an Ancient Conspiracy, and has designs on the British crown, but all his "powers" are just smoke and mirrors.
  • Gallian in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Interestingly, the king's own magus Merick is surprised that Gallian has any magic at all, as a magus's power comes from serving a king. However, Gallian has managed to find a loophole. He has named himself the king of the beastly Krug (after magically uplifting them) and, thus, serves himself. It's implied that only a twisted mind like Gallian's could have accepted this enough to allow this to work.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard is one of these, presented as a master practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo capable of creating zombies, exercising Mind over Matter power over ships, shrinking captured ships to keep in bottles as trophies, and creating voodoo dolls.
  • Mestema of The Dungeonmaster uses his powers to bring the hero and his girlfriend from Earth to his dimension.
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice has the Morganians, who are an entire group of sorcerer's who follow Morgana's teachings. The key among them, besides Morgana herself, is Maxim Horvath, who is one of Merlin's apprentices until he chose to serve Morgana. Morganians are opposed by Merlinians, the followers of Merlin's teachings that magic is to be used to serve humanity. The film only shows three of them (Balthazar, Veronica, and Dave) and no indication is made that more are (or were) present.
  • The Shadow has Shiwan Khan, the last descendant of Genghis Khan, who was taught by the same teacher (whom Shiwan then killed) as Lamont. In fact, Shiwan is strong enough to cloud the minds of all New Yorkers by making them not see a huge building in the middle of the city. In the end, Lamont proves himself more than a match for Shiwan and has a surgeon friend of his removes Shiwan's Psychic Powers through brain surgery.
  • In Lord of Illusions, Nix was an evil wizard who had actual magical powers and deemed himself a god. He sees it as his mission to turn the world into a graveyard. He becomes a lich after his cultists revive him.
  • In Crossworlds, the Big Bad Ferris is a warlord from an Alternate Universe, whose goal is to break down the barriers in The Multiverse and create a Merged Reality he can rule. He has many Reality Warper powers, as well as Mind over Matter and Hand Blast. He also speaks with a British accent.
  • Lord Voldemort of the Harry Potter films and books. Before his rise, there was Gellert Grindelwald, who was powerful enough to fight a dozen American Aurors at once and nearly win in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Evil Chancellor Jaffar in Sinbad of the Seven Seas commands powerful dark magic and uses it to usurp the caliph's throne. His ally Soukra is also described as one, though this remains an Informed Ability.
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: Mordred and later Vortigern.
  • In Conquest, Ocron is an evil sorceress so powerful that she has created centred around herself; despite worshipping the spirit Zora herself.

  • The evil magician is the go-to antagonist for the titular protagonist of the Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard. It serves to contrast with Conan, who is the Trope Codifier for Barbarian Hero and a Badass Normal who triumphs through both mental and physical mastery.
  • Azrael de Gray from War of the Dreaming.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg's father. Turning Oreg in the child in a castle Powered by a Forsaken Child, and, despite Oreg being a powerful mage himself, making it so that Oreg is enslaved to whoever wears a certain ring and can't break this curse ... no mean feat. That evil sorcerer is long dead when the story begins, but there are others, such as Bastilla who is a very powerful, very sadistic mage and the antagonist of the protagonists for much of the plot.
  • In Johannes Cabal the Necromancer Cabal deals with Rufus Maleficarus, an example of a wizard who doesn't have stereotypical smarts: as Cabal put it, all the dark knowledge he learned took up space in his brain already used by his sanity. The result is a big man with wild hair and delusions of grandeur who, nonetheless, nearly brought about the apocalypse, was able to escape from a mental institution by using finger paint to summon a Hound of Tindalos, and transports Cabal into a pocket dimension.
  • All literal sorcerers in The Dresden Files, as the term means a spellcaster whose magical abilities are limited to mostly destructive uses, lacking the subtlety of a true wizard. Most of their abilities also involve breaking one or more of the Laws of Wizardry, each of which carries a death penalty. Most notably Victor Sells from the first book, and Kravos from the third. Two full wizards who also fit this trope are Harry's former mentor Justin DuMorne and Cowl, a recurring enemy.
  • Talon, Screech and Fang from Jackie and Craig are teenage witches who preserve their immortality through cannibalism and the avoidance of sunlight. They suffer realistic effects of scurvy as a result of this, in a book essentially geared towards preteens no less.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Saruman from The Lord of the Rings. He's actually The Mole, attempting to subvert the White Council of good wizards and sages while simultaneously making deals with the Dark Lord Sauron. In fact, he thinks that he can be the Dark Lord himself. Gandalf even points out that Saruman had turned Orthanc into a Poor-man's Barad-dûr.
    • In The Hobbit, we're led to believe that the vile Necromancer is an Evil Sorcerer. In The Lord of the Rings, it's revealed that it's actually Sauron himself.
    • Though he's actually a Physical God, Sauron is called a sorcerer in The Silmarillion as well, probably due to the largely mystical/spiritual nature of his particular power set. The Nazgûl all are also called sorcerers, though it's unclear whether they had their powers before getting their rings.
  • Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels. Bellatrix Lestrange also counts. Or anyone who regularly uses the Dark Arts.
  • Pryrates from the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books, who gets to be a trifecta: evil priest, Evil Sorcerer, and Evil Chancellor.
  • Theleb K'aarna, Yyrkoon and Jagreen Lern in Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné stories.
  • Raistlin of the Dragonlance series (after his Face–Heel Turn), as well as Fistandantilus.
  • Clark Ashton Smith had lots of these in his short stories. They include Eibon, Malygris, Namirrha, Dwerulas, Ossaru, Azédarac, Mmatmuor and Sodosma, Abnon-Tha, Vacharn and his sons, Sarcand, and Maal Dweb. Some of them are Villain Protagonists.
  • Kasreyn of the Gyre in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander:
    • Arawn Deathlord and Queen Achren.
    • Morda in Taran Wanderer also fits the trope clearly. In fact, he's in some ways a forerunner of Lord Voldemort: "Scornful of humanity", using Soul Jars, barely human anymore...
  • Loraan in the Dragaera series.
    • In-series, Sethra Lavode is considered by many to be an Evil Sorceress. On the one hand, everything we've seen of her from Vlad's first-person Point of View indicates she's not that bad a person. On the other hand, every once in a while a member of the House of Dzur will go off to slay her, and none of these people are ever heard from again...
  • H.P. Lovecraft:
  • The Warlock Lord, Brona, from Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara and its prequel First King of Shannara. He is actually described by Bremen to be things like "no longer a man" and "a dark creature." He is said to no longer have human thoughts, but to act completely on instinct. He has given himself to the darkness so completely, when he's in his tent, Risca tries to sneak inside and finish him off only to realize that... he's not there. He's become the darkness around him, and it gets to the point that it seems that even taking the form of a vague cloaked figure is somewhat of an annoyance to him and not actually necessary. He IS sorcery.
  • All hail the Crimson King from The Dark Tower, who orders his servants to drink rat poison so he can watch them die. And could just as easily force them to.
  • The sinister and power-hungry Euron Greyjoy in A Song of Ice and Fire, whose secret arcane knowledge and ominous presence frighten his enemies and subjects alike. The priestess Melisandre, who assassinates her enemies with spirit children that live inside her womb, is another, possibly more frightening example.
  • The Death Gate Cycle is full of magic-using characters, but while several of them are villains, most are given sympathetic backstories and motivation. There are, however, two definite examples of this trope- Sinistrad and Kleitus.
  • Vadim Maur from the Tairen Soul series is a standard example of this trope, and manages to be quite frightening despite (or rather because) he is such an Obviously Evil Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Discworld:
    • Parodied with Dr Hix of the Unseen University's Department of Post-Mortem Communication (and certainly not necromancy), who is officially the University's Bad Person, and is therefore permitted to perform mild acts of "evil", such as practical jokes or saying what everyone else is thinking. The thinking is that, PMC being what it is, it's better to have someone sensible playing a rolenote  than run the risk of an actual Evil Sorcerer taking the position.
    • Played straight with Ipslore the Red, Big Bad of Sourcery who cheerfully abandoned all sympathetic qualities with the death of his wife and became the Man Behind the Man to his son, the sourcerer in question (so called, because his place in the birth order, Coin is capable of generating magical energy-which makes him a Physical God). He exists only in a Soul Jar, but how he was able to sneak that one past Death cements his place here; he made it so that reaping his soul will kill Coin. Averted with Coin himself, however; he's a remarkably sweet kid for someone with such a terrible role model.
    • Also in Sourcery, the Evil Chancellor of Klatch is also an Evil Sorcerer, who was thrown out of Unseen University for being insane. Rincewind is astonished that anyone could be that insane.
  • Parodied in Which Witch?, where Arriman is a very dark, very evil sorcerer, but his evil acts are more of a Poke the Poodle. It's a children's book, so he obviously can't be too evil. Played a bit straighter with one of the witches, who is more powerful than Arriman himself, and wears a necklace made out of the teeth of her deceased husbands. (Of one, they never found a body, but a bald werewolf with milky blue eyes appeared after he went missing ...)
  • Several villains from The Saga of the Noble Dead practice sorcery, notably Chane, a vampiric Psycho for Hire and Magic Knight, and his partner Welstiel, who specializes in crafting magical items. The character from the series who most fits the stereotypes, though, is Ubad- Necromancer, old, Black Cloak, pact with the dark forces, etc. Not a guy to cross.
  • In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the magician does not tell the hero what taking his shadow entails and describes, elegantly, how honored great magicians are in Hell.
  • Ucteberi in Shadows of the Apt.
  • The Belgariad has Zedar, Ctuchik, Urvon, Zandramas, Asharak, and every single Morindim magician.
  • In The Dragon Hoard the appropriately named Awful. There's also Stamp-Weed, several unnamed-sorcerers and plenty of evil sorceresses.
  • In Heart's Blood Nechtan, Anluan’s great-grandfather, summons The Host (an army of spirits from purgatory)
  • Many of the Canim Ritualists from Codex Alera, most notably Sarl. The Ritualists as a whole are considered to be this (even by most of their own people) until they get fleshed out more in the last book, which reveals how they were once incredibly respected before gradually becoming corrupt over several generations; Master Marok, a sympathetic old-school Ritualist, is also introduced.
  • Berys/Malior of Tales of Kolmar is one of these, a powerful demon master.
  • A theme in The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, where three of the four main villains are evil sorcerers: the wicked stepmother-witch Queen Hvit, the devious King Adils, and the half-elven necromancer Skuld.
  • The Immortals, a trio of evil immortal sorcerers in The Extraordinaires.
  • Numerous backwoods examples appear in Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories.
  • Arunis Wytterscorm, the BloodMage of Gurishal, chief advisor to the Shaggat Ness and true power behind his throne, millennia-old body snatcher and most prominent of the several Big Bads of The Chathrand Voyages. Generally a real nasty piece of work. The third and fourth books of the series introduce Macadra the White Raven, head of the Raven Society and de facto ruler of Bali Adro. She's Arunis's contemporary in age, power, and wickedness, and his on-and-off ally and perpetual rival. She's also his sister.
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, the evil formerly-human immortals (the ones who weren't human fall into Physical God or Eldritch Abomination) are basically evil sorcerers. John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli are the best examples. (Yes, those are the actual historical figures.)
  • Many in the works of John Bellairs, starting with Isaac and Selena Izzard in The House With a Clock in Its Walls.
  • The Wheel of Time:
  • The Big Bad Riesenkampf from Sword with No Name is one. He killed the rightful king and rules the land from his floating palace. He also keeps the queen locked up to preserve an illusion of legitimacy. He's actually a Magnificent Bastard and a Sharp-Dressed Man, wearing modern-day suits instead of something more befitting his Medieval European Fantasy setting.
  • The frequent Big Bad in Belyanin's Tsar Gorokh's Detective Agency is Koschei the Deathless, a Lich-like figure who rules the "unclean" forces. He appears to be a master of the dark arts but rarely uses magic openly, preferring to brew potions and act through his subordinates. Being a Magnificent Bastard helps. There's also the fact that he can't enter the city of Lukoshkino (the setting of the series) thanks to Father Kondratiy's daily prayers. The one time he does, the Father is out-of-town, and the protagonists are nearly killed by Koschei himself and only survive by random chance. He does have two Weaksauce Weaknesses: the fear of a rooster call (heralding the sunrise) and the fact that salt burns his flesh like acid.
  • Partly averted in Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch. While Zabulon is The Archmage, a Magnificent Bastard, and The Chessmaster, he never does anything For the Evulz. Everything he does tends to be part of some bigger plan to advance the cause of the Darkness. Since Dark Is Not Evil, there are even a number of times he cooperates with his Light counterpart Gesar against a bigger threat. It's stated that many Dark sorcerers were evil in centuries past, this sort of behavior is now frowned upon by all Others, both Light and Dark, as both sides are interested in maintaining The Masquerade, and the Treaty provides checks and balances for the actions of both sides. In fact, if a Dark Other starts to openly use magic, the Day Watch (the official Dark institution that polices the Light Others) is likely to be the first on the scene to stop him or her. After all, if the Night Watch does it instead, the Light ones may demand that the Inquisition grant them the right to a high-level intervention to compensate for the damage. There were many Dark Ones in the past (before the Treaty), who fit this trope, though. One story deals with the possible attempt by one faction to resurrect an ancient Dark mage named Fafnir, who would likely end up going on a rampage across Europe before being stopped by advanced human military technology.
  • Almost every wielder of Free Magic or necromancy in The Old Kingdom, as while Free Magic isn't "evil", exactly, it's a very chaotic and destructive power that tends to induce unpleasant effects such as madness in its wielders; the necromancer Hedge is the most prominent Free Magic sorcerer in the books (and perhaps incidentally, wielders of this kind of magic are almost always called sorcerers, in contrast to those who use Charter Magic, who are usually called mages). This trope also applies to the magic-using Greater Dead, such as Kerrigor or Chlorr of the Mask.
  • Pretty much any of the Fallen Mages in the Ahriman Trilogy, though most would expand that to include even the rank and file members of the Order of Ahriman.
  • Every necromancer in the Schooled in Magic series has been utterly corrupted and driven insane by the necromantic power that they wield.
  • In Children of the Black Sun, the Big(gest) Bad is a very evil and very powerful mage. The evilness and the power are linked — he draws magic from inflicting pain (not that he needs the extra encouragement).
  • Avshar the wizard-prince of Yezd from The Videssos Cycle is an exceptionally powerful sorcerer and Magic Knight and the Dragon-in-Chief of the empire he allegedly serves. He's a vicious sadist who worships Skotos and is feared by allies and enemies alike, and always conceals his face behind a veil because he's Really 700 Years Old and suffers from Age Without Youth. Near the end of the series, he graduates to Sorcerous Overlord when he overthrows his "master", Khagan Wulghash, and takes over as overlord of the Yezda empire. It ultimately takes getting Dragged Off to Hell to stop him.
  • Nightmare Hour: Margolin from "The Most Evil Sorcerer" obviously is one, as he has great knowledge of Black Magic. The main character is his cunning apprentice who seeks a way to overthrow him.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Greensparrow and all his minions, save one who's just misguided.
  • The Witchlands: Esme is an insanely powerful witch who can turn other witches into Slave Mooks and helps the Big Bad conquer the eponymous continent.
  • The main character of Everybody Loves Large Chests is a warlock who uses demons to help it eat people.
  • Talion: Revenant: Chi'gandir, who used magic to change people's shapes and then extorts them for reversing it.
  • Journey to Chaos boasts of...
    • Mr.15, who spends his days in a lair of fog and monsters, performing the Dark Arts and conducting magical experiments on unwilling suspects. The locals think he's a fiend or a demon.
    • Dengel enslaved a community to his final lair in Ceiha using magic that bound their souls to their flesh. He forced them to serve him while he researched greater and stronger magic in order to take revenge on his enemies.
  • Dracula is said to have been adept in the dark arts due to being trained as a Solomonari, a dark wizard from Eastern European foklore. Its heavily implied that he rose as a vampire in the first place through magic rather than being bitten like all of his victims, and his more famous powers like turning into mist, bats, wolves or summoning storms are likely product of his black magic rather than inherit vampire powers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Cyrus Vail from The Circle of the Black Thorn, a frail, elderly, incredibly powerful warlock.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Mayor Richard Wilkins III and Ethan Rayne.
    • And there are several hints that Giles used to be one as well. Ethan frequently remarks that he never got even close to his old friend in both power and depravity.
    • In Season 8 of Buffy (which crosses over with Fray) it is revealed that Willow will eventually become a female version in the distant future. She is unaware of this, though she tries to stay away from black magic to prevent this.
    • The Master is one, though his magical abilities are more pronounced in supplementary material than the actual series.
  • Game of Thrones: Melisandre boasts magical abilities, although it's handled in a subtle, non-flashy way. Melisandre herself mentions that most of her more flamboyant displays of power are actually clever fakes, used to impress the impressionable. The limits of her true powers are unknown.
  • Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time, who is also known as 'The Dark One'.
    • Briefly Emma and later Hook as they too becoming dark ones.
  • Turok and Rumina from The Adventures of Sinbad.
  • Maldis from Farscape.
  • Andre Linoge in the Stephen King miniseries Storm of the Century is either one of these, or an actual devil.
  • Pacha Camac in Blood Ties is an Incan priest who has himself mummified so that he can be resurrected in the future. After that, he starts sucking the life force out of the people around him. He wants to make himself even more powerful and immortal by sucking the life out of a vampire (how's that for irony?).
  • Vern and Omen in Dark Oracle. Subverted by Doyle; he's creepy and neurotic, and it is repeatedly suggested that he is the real cause of all the twins' problems. He remains one of the good guys until the end though, becoming a semi-Mentor to the main cast.
    • Blaze and Violet are borderline cases. They definitely have magic of some sort, and ally with Omen and Vern at various points, but said magic is rarely shown.
  • A few from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Lord Zedd, his father-in-law Master Vile, and his son Thrax.
  • Robin of Sherwood had two successive ones as recurring villains. Notable for avoiding Suspiciously Similar Substitute and making them very different characters in terms of personality, background, and magical style.
    • Baron de Belleme, a icy Satanist Norman aristocrat with Hermetic powers and a tendency to brainwash people, who actively used magic to fight his enemies and sought the limelight at every opportunity.
    • Gulnar, a deranged, giggly, disheveled, Welsh pagan shaman, who preferred to raise undead or magical creatures to use as his mooks, liked to hide in the background of events, and tended to "flight" rather than "fight" reactions when things started to go wrong.
  • Legend of the Seeker has Darken Rahl, the Big Bad of the first season, who has some magical abilities, not that we see many of those. The one we see several times is his ability to do an Offscreen Teleportation during sword battles to stab the opponent in the back. He also has many sorcerers serving him, including a Wizard of the First Order named Giller. The Bad Future season finale also features Nicholas Rahl, the son of Darken Rahl and Kahlan Amnell, combining his parents abilities to become an even worse tyrant than his father. It's stated that the entire Rahl bloodline is full of examples of this trope. In fact, Darken's father Panis is actually a relatively mild example (especially compared to his son), whose main on-screen villainy comes from a Bed Trick (to produce Richard to rival Darken) and killing Zedd's father (which he may or may not have deserved for trying to kill baby Darken).
  • Kreel in The Legend Of William Tell.
  • The Master from Doctor Who is basically the Science Fantasy equivalent - the Delgado Master summoned demons, the Simm Master arranged for his own resurrection in a scene straight out of Harry Potter, and the Gomez Mistress created an army of zombie Cybermen driven by the minds / souls of the dead. Contrast with the Doctor, who's been explicitly compared to Merlin or a general "good wizard".

  • From the Albums of Gloryhammer, we have Zargothrax the Dark Sorcerer of Auchtermuchty. On the album Tales from the Kingdom of Fife, he invades Dundee with an Army of Undead Unicorns and traps the beautiful princess Iona McDougall in ice. On the second album, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards, his actions cause the Earth to be destroyed.

    Myth And Legend 
  • Morgan le Fey is portrayed this way in most versions of the King Arthur legend.
  • Koschei the Deathless in Russian folklore.
  • In the Malian Epic of Sundiata, the historical king of Sosso, Soumaoro Kanté, was portrayed as an evil sorcerer king who oppresses his people and takes advantage of the fall of the Ghana Empire to conquer his neighbors before being defeated and overthrown by an alliance of states lead by the Mandinka prince Sundiata Keita. Sundiata would then go on to form the Kingdom of Mali.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons loves this trope. By campaign setting:
    • Dragonlance: As mentioned above, Raistlin and Fistandantilus.
      • And Dalamar, Maladar, Galan Dracos, most Renegades, and the Order of the Black Robes (though the latter are admittedly often Affably Evil Anti Villains or Anti Heroes, as most are more self-serving and amoral).
    • Forgotten Realms: Halaster Blackcloak, Manshoon(s), the ruling council of the city of Shade, Szass Tam and the rest of the Red Wizards of Thay. And these are just the most notable/infamous. There's probably hundreds of 'em.
    • Greyhawk: Vecna (who eventually ascends to godhood), Rary the Traitor, the infamous Acererak.
      • There is also Iggwilv the Witch Queen, who is considered to be the greatest expert on demons who ever lived. One of her sons is the child of a powerful demon lord and accended to divinity. Even though she's hundreds of years old, she looks not a day older than 40 at most.
    • Mystara: Bargle the Infamous.
    • Ravenloft: Azalin Rex, a Tragic Villain example.
    • Eberron gives us Erandis Vol, an undead half-elf/half-dragon sorceress who founded a cult dedicated to her worship. She is a Dark Messiah who was supposed to bring an end to an ancient war between elves and dragons. It worked, but not the way intended: both races considered her an abomination and joined forces to destroy her family. Vol's mother turned her into a lich, allowing her to survive and seek her revenge.
    • Planescape gave us a few, including Alhison Nilesia, the cruel mistress of the wretched Prison of Sigil, Lothar the Master of Bones, Komosahl Trevant, Alluvius Ruskin, and even a few demons and devils that had taken up wizardry, such as A'kin and Shemeshka. Every Night Hag counts as well, being a race of giant soul-stealing crone witches.
      • Subverted with Factol Skall, who is technically a neutral evil lich, though he is only evil to the extent that his philosophy is that life is irrelevant. He does not kill, but persuades others to accept true death as a release from the woes of life.
      • And of course there are the many, many diabolic powers such as Orcus and Asmodeus, the various gods who can certainly fall into this role, and so on.
  • ...and Magic: The Gathering loves it almost as much. The most prominent is Lim-Dul, the Necromancer, whose hordes of undead and demons plagued the continent of Terisiare during the Ice Age; Lim-Dul is later revealed to be another Evil Sorcerer, Mairsil the Pretender, whose soul had been trapped and possessed an innocent man years later. Lim-Dul was followed shortly after by Heidar of Rimewind, a mad ice wizard who wanted to return the world to a second Ice Age. There's also Lord Dralnu, the Lich-Lord of Urborg, a zombie wizard with whom the forces of good were forced to ally against the invading Phyrexians; Memnarch, an evil artificial being with powerful magical abilities; and Virot Maglan, the Cabal Patriarch, who runs a sorcerous mafia.
    • Big Bad Nicol Bolas takes it Up to Eleven, being an Evil Sorcerer Dragon. He is the oldest and the last of the Elder Dragons in a setting where dragons become more powerful and dangerous with age. While he was originally represented in-game as an "ordinary" legend type creature card (with a special ability that has him Mind Rape the opponent instead of dealing damage), he is now a planeswalker. As in a Physical God.
    • Generally speaking, Blue and Black as a whole play a lot into this trope's archetypes.
  • Pathfinder, being a retooled Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, loves this trope oh-so-much. Nex, Geb, Tar-Barphon, Karzoug and six other Runelords, Adivion Adrissant, The Splatter Man, Arazni the Harlot Queen, Areelu Vorlesh, Vordakai, and dozens more are in the setting, filling out the same roles as this trope did in Dungeons & Dragons. It's rare for an adventure not to have at least one, even if they aren't the primary antagonist, and as of late 2013 almost a hundred adventure books (modules and Adventure Paths) have been written.
  • Iuchiban in Legend of the Five Rings.
    • Daigotsu was raised from birth to be the embodiment of this trope. I mean, the guy serves an evil god willingly...
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Drachenfells, Nagash, Heinrich "the Lichemaster" Kemmler and Ergrimm Von Horstmann from Warhammer. Also, all Chaos sorcerers, necromancers, Vampire lords, Dark Elf warlocks, Tomb King liche priests and Skaven grey seers also count. No, it's not a happy place; whoever gave you THAT idea?
    • While all members of the Arcanite Cults from Warhammer: Age of Sigmar have some level of arcane skill, the Magisters of the Cult’s leadership are the true masters of The Dark Arts who will stop at nothing to lead their Cult to victory and gain favour with their profane god. Having sold their souls to Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Sorcery, magical energy saturates their bodies allowing the Magister to draw upon the raw power of Chaos to power their spells.
    • Lots of people in Warhammer 40,000, since all the factions are mostly evil, and most of them use sorcery to some extent. Chaos Space Marine sorcerers are the most glaring example, being seven foot tall genetically engineered warriors in power armour, AND having the protection of evil gods, and they hate everybody and want unlimited power. However, they pay a price, suffering ever-increasing madness and horrible mutations such as extra limbs, heads, eyes inside their mouths, etc.
  • Feng Shui's 69 AD juncture is ruled by the Eaters of the Lotus, a sinister cabal of evil eunuch sorcerers and their human and demonic servants. The Four Monarchs, banished to the Netherworld, are another example, except for the smartest one of the lot who's not so bad anymore for someone who ruled 1/4th of the world for centuries with absolute power.

    • The best part about the price they pay? They either don't care or they think it's awesome.
  • The Spirit of the Century supplement Spirit Of The Season brings magic more fully into the game, and naturally has a couple of magical villains, including Salomon Mizrahi, a evil kabbalist who is convinced he is a Tzadikim Nistarim, one of the 36 Righteous People whose existence supports that of the world. Interestingly, he's actually better at Science! than he is at magic, making him particularly dangerous.
    • His mentor (and general Big Bad of SotC) Dr. Methusala may be considered to fall under this trope with his mastery of the 10 equations and ability to radically alter reality, and blur the line between science and magic (then again, SotC treats magic as being answerable to science, just not till it's properly studied).
  • Almost all magic users in Call of Cthulhu will turn into this, spend the rest of their lives eating bugs in an insane asylum, or else die so horribly that seeing their remains could cause Sanity loss on the Sanity Meter. The "or" in the proceeding sentence is not an exclusive or, and you can bet the head of a cult will fit this trope well. Magic Is Evil here.
  • Unknown Armies plays with this trope. Magic is not inherently evil, but it draws peoples whose values are so alien to normal that they can't really be expected to uphold normal human ethics. As a consequence, this trope shows up, but much less than you expect from a modern horror game. When one adept gets power from subverting their sexuality to a porn star, another from having money (not using it, just having it), and a third from collecting (but not studying) old books, you can't expect these people to be terribly sane, can you?
  • Mage: The Ascension plays with this trope. The main adversary of most Player Characters, the Technocratic Union, use Magitek, and are corrupt but generally not evil. They conflict with the Traditions mostly over worldview, turning the conflict into one of Gray and Grey Morality where it's Romanticism vs. Enlightenment tragically fighting it out. But then the Nephandi, mages who have sworn themselves into the service of one Eldritch Abomination or another, are this trope personified.
    • It is also certainly possible for a Tremere or Giovanni in Vampire: The Masquerade to be a vampiric version of this trope. The Baali are this by way of demon-worship, and the Devil-Tigers can play this trope by way of Asian myths of hungry ghosts if built correctly.
    • Changeling: The Dreaming fae can mix this trope with the Fair Folk in some forms.
    • The Sorcerer sourcebook detailed many ways to play this trope out without being a full Mage from Mage: The Ascension, though Sorcerers were not inherently evil.
  • Mage: The Awakening offers the Seers of the Throne, a group of mages seeking to enforce their masters' control over reality while advancing themselves in the process, and the Scelesti, mages who seek to give reality over to the Abyss, which embodies everything antithetical to existence.
  • Exalted, being a fairly high-magic setting, has a couple. The Perfect of Paragon isn't that bad a guy in some ways, but he rules using a magical artifact called the Staff of Peace and Order that lets him have people swear magically backed oaths on it, kill them if they break the oath, and hijack their senses and even bodies at will (he also has some pretty impressive powers of his own, but the Staff blows them out of the water). Raksi, Queen of Fangs, is a baby-eating shapeshifter who, despite being more powerful than all but a few hundred other people could ever hope for, is obsessed with the power that will remain forever out of her reach. (Ability to access magic is limited by in-universe character tiers; she's not at the top tier, and so can't get to the best magic.) Both of them rule their chosen city-states with iron fists, although the Perfect's people are generally happier with their government than Raksi's.


    Theme Parks 

  • One of the earliest LEGO minifigures was actually called Evil Wizard.
    • They've followed up with the Evil Wizard of the Castle 2007 theme, the Evil Dragon Wizard in the 2013 revival, and the Evil Wizard in the LEGO Minifigures theme.
  • Playmobil features some of these. In their "Dragon Land" theme, there's an evil sorcerer who lives in a tower, and the "Fi?ures" theme features a green traditional wizard who has the evil style of eyes and colors matching those of the evil soldiers in the "Dragon Land" theme.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick. Xykon. He's also a literal sorcerer; a spellcaster who was born with his powers rather than learning magic through study.
    • Vaarsuvius practically became one for a while, thanks to an obsession with ultimate power. Whether or whether not it will actually happen remains to be seen.
    • Technically Nale is this as well, but as it's not his only character class (and he's much weaker than either of the above) it's not played up as much as his being Elan's brother and leader of the Linear Guild.
  • Lord Dragos from The Beast Legion is probably one of the most sadistic Evil sorcerers around, if not the most sadistic.
  • Wanda, the croakamancer from Erfworld.
  • Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater is this mixed with The Chew Toy and Villain Protagonist. Sarda is a straighter example.
  • Kakralomino, the Big Bad of Tails of Lanschilandia, though with more of a focus on his Evil Overlord characteristics than his magic abilities.

    Web Original 
  • The Necromancer, in the Whateley Universe.
  • Koteph in Dragoneyes
  • How To Hero features a few of these. Generally as nameless archetypes such as "dark mages" or "evil wizards." Potentially your local village mystic might turn out to be one.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Evil Sorceror, Evil Sorceress, Evil Wizard