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Evil Uncle

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"How come the kindest parents always have the most dickass relatives?"

Everyone has an uncle who they're not allowed to go camping with. For some reason, the brother and occasionally sister of the hero's father (rarely mother - see below) has a tendency to be evil. No one is exactly sure why, given that the two were raised in the same environment and there was no Villainous Lineage. Maybe simply because of envy, and because the uncle will stand pretty high in the succession row.

The concept stems far back to the medieval days, where the firstborn son is the crown prince, the secondborn son is the "replacement" if the firstborn happens to die, and the thirdborn... well, he's sent off to the church. Naturally, the secondborn won't grow to like his position, in turn making this trope a corrupted version of Middle Child Syndrome — though in most media, there's only two brothers in the first place, if only to avoid cluttering up the story.

One result of this arrangement is that if the ruler dies while the heir is too young to take over, the old monarch's younger brother (i.e. the new monarch's uncle) would probably become the interim de facto ruler, and would be well positioned to take the crown permanently if something unfortunate were to happen. Since European societies usually (but not always) were patrilinear, this would usually be the younger brother, not sister.

This has a tendency to escalate to Cain and Abel; in fact, it almost always does. If he is from a royal family, which he frequently is, he is most commonly The Evil Prince. In those cases, he is usually the younger brother, with no children at all, while his older brother usually has at least one. He will usually end up killing his brother, thus triggering the hero's quest for vengeance. He may try to kill the hero by giving him The Quest for an Impossible Task; this is usually unwise.

A female equivalent is likely to be the Wicked Stepmother; she is unable to inherit herself, but her children can. When your mom and dad are the problem, see Evil Matriarch and Archnemesis Dad.

Can overlap with Cool Uncle (see: Evil Is Cool), in this case, the uncle himself might be a Freudian Excuse for a character's Start of Darkness or Face–Heel Turn. He rarely is a Creepy Uncle, however, though the two tropes are by no means mutually-exclusive. Contrast with Evil Nephew.

A common way to give a character a terrible childhood all in one go is to kill off their (invariably wonderful) parents and send them to live with their Evil Uncle (and/or their Evil Aunt) — the dark side of Nephewism.



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    Fairy Tales 
  • In variants of the Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type ATU 707, "The Three Golden Children", the titular golden children are born to the youngest of three sisters, from whom they are separated by their evil aunts. Years later, the aunts discover the children are alive, they pay them a visit to send them on a dangerous quest for marvellous objects, in hopes they fail. Examples of the tale type include French tale Princess Belle-Etoile, Russian verse fairy tale The Tale of Tsar Saltan, and oral Italian tale The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird.
  • In "The Two Brothers", collected by The Brothers Grimm, the twin brothers' uncle is a wicked and greedy man, though not especially more so to his nephews than to anyone else.

    Fan Works 
  • Adventures in the Human Realm: Belos was this to Hunter, denying him recreation opportunities and making Hunter’s work schedules so strict that Hunter treats waking up on time as a life-or-death situation.
  • In the second part of Apprentice and Pregnant, Laurelpaw meets her paternal uncle Old Gray for the first time. He's just as awful as her father was, if not worse. Old Gray murdered his mate and young daughter. When Laurelpaw refuses to give him his son back, he threatens to kill her, the friends that tagged along with her, and even her mother. After Laurelpaw's friends escape, he gets even angrier, resulting in him raping and attempting to murder his niece.
  • A Hetalia: Axis Powers fic, The Danish Slaughterhouse has Denmark plotting the murders of his family and raping his nephew, Sealand several times.
  • Destiny (Afterandalasia): Marie from The Aristocats was actually a little girl who was temporarily left with her angry, alcoholic uncle while her mother was in labor. Her uncle got drunk and took her out riding on his motorcycle. They were hit by a train and Marie died in the crash.
  • Downplayed with Mammom in A Divine (Romantic) Comedy. Yes, he's the vilest of the Seven Deadly Sins and is Charlie's Honorary Uncle, but he's uncharacteristically generous with her on a level that he isn't with anyone else and is shown to sincerely care for his niece. He also doesn't oppose or antagonize her like a straightforward example of this trope and is actually somewhat helpful, having given her the seed money needed to help her get started with her hotel.
  • In the My Hero Academia fanfiction Fear of You one of the villains turns out to be Takami Keigo's Uncle "Takami Junto" aka. Harima Junto.
  • The Jem fanfic Fresh Blood, and other fics set its continuity, depict Roxy's uncle as this. Her aunt was also cruel, but her uncle haunts Roxy more-so. Roxy was raised by her aunt and uncle but they never loved her and always abused her. When she was little, Roxy's uncle would hold her off the balcony of their twelve story apartment and threaten to drop her. Eventually she ran away as a teenager.
  • The Dark Man, aka Gordon Freeman to Henry Freeman, in Half-Life: Full Life Consequences.
  • Since Rainbow Dash is Celestia's daughter in Little Glimpses, Nightmare Moon is her aunt, and their first encounter kicks off to a bang with Nightmare Moon starting an eternal night and kidnapping Rainbow. Unlike in the show, Rainbow is fully aware that Nightmare Moon is actually Luna, and is not in control of her faculties at the moment.
  • A recurring antagonist in Ma Fille is Katrina's maternal aunt Laura, who is hellbent on taking custody away from her father Joe, despite having cut off her sister Heather (Katrina's mother) and not even knowing Katrina was born until she was eight. Her escapades include trying to abduct Katrina from a mall, and later claiming to the police that Joe and her mother Louise (Katrina's grandmother) kidnapped her, which landed them all in court. In the end, Laura is finally defeated for good when she is sent to prison for breaking the restraining order and loses custody of her newborn baby.
  • Tabitha's uncle in Points of Familiarity keeps sending Tabitha on impossible missions to get her killed. She insists on not only surviving these missions, but successfully completes them.
  • In The Shadow Wars Story Verse of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy's Uncle Windvane, a Pegasus supremacist who launches a major armed rebellion against Equestria and routinely murders captive civilians to drain their Life Energy by means of his Pegasus Device, certainly qualifies.
  • Throw Away Your Mask plays with this: while the being claiming to be Kurusu Tsuyoshi almost definitely isn't actually related to Akira, he still claims that Akira is his nephew when Akechi asks what he is.
  • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik is this to Natural "N" Harmonia Blair in Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee.

  • There is a German band known as Boehse Onkelz, which translates as... well, you know.
  • The Who's Tommy's Wicked Uncle Ernie. He molested Tommy when Tommy was a teenager, and exploits him after Tommy's cult becomes a religion.
  • Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa was the intended soundtrack to "a movie we haven't got enough money for to make yet". In the liner notes of the album we find out that Uncle Meat is a Mad Scientist who wants to rule the world with an army of mutant monsters. He would return in the liner notes of The Grand Wazoo.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Gender-Flipped with the Goddess Hera, who often tortured her brother Zeus's children. Since she was also his wife, and the kids she did this to were his children by other women (which pissed her off like you wouldn't believe) she literally doubles as a Wicked Stepmother.
  • Older Than Dirt: Set, the Egyptian god of chaos, violence, and the desert, murdered his brother Osiris and usurped his kingdom. Then afterwards, Osiris's sister/wife Isis had to hide their infant son Horus from Set. When Horus gew up, Set refused to return the kingdom to Horus, leading to a long fight between them.
  • Hindu Mythology:
    • The Avatar Krishna's uncle Kamsa was a kind fellow who loved his sister until he heard a prophecy stating that his nephew would overthrow him. This made him go berserk, imprisoning his sister and killing her nine children in succession as soon as they were born. Needless to say, the tenth child escaped and kicked his ass after he grew up.
    • Mahabharata has Shakuni, brother of Queen Gandhari and thus the maternal uncle of the Kaurava, who deliberately instigated the Kurukshethra War by pitting his nephews against their cousins the Pandava, because of his deep-seated hatred against the Kuru, who had betrothed Gandhari to a blind man and brutally subjugated their homeland, Gandhara. While the book has numerous characters of varying degrees of grayness in morality, Shakuni is widely considered to be the true villain of the story.
  • Loki in the actual Norse Mythology, is not Odin's son as in the Marvel version but his foster-brother (a custom of the Norsemen where very close friends took an oath that made them legally siblings). Although mostly a trickster, in the end he is destined to murder his foster-nephew Baldr and start the process that will lead to Ragnarök!
  • The founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, killed their grand-uncle, Amulius. He had usurped the throne of Alba Longa from his brother Numitor and killed his son and daughter (the mother of the twins).

  • In the backstory of Mad Daedalus, the Greek inventor Daedalus murders his nephew due to jealousy over the accolades the latter received.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has Uncle Istvan, from The Dark expansion. Although we only have the card's name to take for the fact that he is an uncle, his flavor text makes it clear that he is quite evil.
  • Warhammer features Nagash, who in addition to his many, many, many other crimes murdered his nephew, the legitimate heir to his brother Thutep's throne (who he also murdered) and then tricked the kid's mother into drinking a potion containing her murdered son's remains.

  • Electra: Aegisthus, being a close cousin who became Electra's step-father after murdering her dad and marrying her mom. He also plans to seal her up in a cave.
  • The Lion King: Scar believes that having heirs will make him feel complete as a king. It's in fact his guilty conscience about killing his own brother and exiling his nephew that makes him feel empty, but that doesn't stop him from hitting on Nala.
  • Hamlet: Claudius, generally considered the Trope Codifier, having killed his own brother and then married his wife, prompting Hamlet to seek revenge at the behest of his father's ghost.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ursula is Ariel's evil aunt. This connection was cut from the movie, but it was restored for the Broadway musical.
  • William Shakespeare's Richard III is one of the most famous examples of an uncle out to kill his nephew so he can assume the throne himself.
  • Thyestes: Atreus is the definitive Evil Uncle — he feeds his nephews to their father to avenge Thyestes's affair with Mrs. Atreus.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Satoko's uncle Teppei physically abuses her in Tatarigoroshi-hen and Minagoroshi-hen. Her aunt, Tamae, wasn't very nice either.
  • Ace Attorney
    • Morgan Fey in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is an evil aunt. First, she tries to get Maya framed for murder, and then when that doesn't work she outright tries to get Maya killed. Note that, since Morgan actually was the older sister and was passed up for the position of Master of Kurain because her spiritual power was weak compared to her younger sister's, this technically isn't for her own benefit, but rather to install her Child Prodigy daughter, Pearl, as the next Master, with her controlling the kid.
    • The Big Bad of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice is Queen Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in, who's Princess Rayfa's aunt and adoptive mother. Like Morgan, she was passed over for her family's hereditary leadership position- Queen of Khura'in- in favor of her younger sister Amara due to lacking spiritual power. As a result, she stages an assassination attempt on Amara while framing Amara's husband Dhurke, fakes Amara's death and forces her sister to impersonate her while channeling spirits under threat of harm coming to Rayfa. Ga'ran rules as a tyrant for 23 years, until Apollo finally manages to expose her as a murderer and a fraud.
  • Crow Harbor in the backstory of Sunrider was the bastard son of the Ryuvian Infinite Emperor, and after the Emperor and the crown prince were assassinated by an unknown party (it is never confirmed whether it was Crow, his brother, or someone else entirely), he plunged the galaxy into a devastating civil war in a bid to put himself on the throne. His niece Sola, who happened to be a bastard herself, led the fight against him, and it’s implied that he tried to kill her many times. Then he and his fleet wind up traveling forward in time, creating a rift in time, and he becomes the Greater-Scope Villain, lying in wait to conquer the galaxy.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has Kasumi Sumadera, an Evil Aunt who's out for revenge against her niece Ange since her mother Kyrie's marriage to Rudolf Ushiromiya ruined her life.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Ichi's uncle refused to get a job and was always selling his mother's mementos for money and planned to force him to get a job after middle school. Ichi eventually moved into a dorm of a high school and left his uncle high and dry.
  • Lilium -Sims 2 has a case of an evil aunt. The protagonist, Isis, is in love with her brother; however, her brother rejects her and marries another. The two have a daughter together. Upon meeting her young niece, Isis is struck by how much she resembles her mother. In her jealousy, she kills her.
  • In the story titled, "My mom is controlling," from My Story Animated, it is revealed that the reason why Princess Aurora's parents kept her from leaving their castle for her entire life is because when Aurora was a baby, her evil aunt abducted Aurora in an attempt to become next in line for the throne.
  • Refreshing Stories: Hiroshi's uncle adopted him and his brother Satoshi after his parents died in a car accident. He treated the brothers poorly and when Hiroshi protested that he couldn't work while in high school, he kicked them out of the house.
  • Story Time Animated: Abuela hid Isabella's parents from her, pretending they went missing by forcing them to find an ancient mirror for her.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • "The Head Start," an edition of R.L. Stine's Rainy Night Theater, featured a boy and her female cousin learning about a werewolf committing various attacks in the forest, and they are led to believe the werewolf was the boy's father (the girl's uncle). In actuality, the werewolf was revealed as the girl's aunt (the boy's mother).

    Web Videos 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Evil Aunt


Scar (1994 film)

Scar murders his brother, Mufasa, and then blames Simba for his death. He forces him into exile, and then orders the hyenas to kill him.

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