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Light Is Not Good

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"I had always presumed white light to be pure and somehow chaste, to be noble and good. But this whiteness was unutterably evil, chilling, its purity an abomination."

The Light seems like a good, kindly thing, especially compared with that bad old Darkness: Whereas Darkness is usually concerned with kicking puppies, eating children, and laughing its head off, the forces of Light generally worry about nicer things, like singing with the birds, helping little old ladies cross the street, and... well, you know, being a Hero. Whereas the Dark is sexy and alluring and tends to dress that way, the Light (while often quite attractive in its own way) tends to be a bit more conservative when it comes to clothing. Women serving the Light tend to really appreciate this, considering what the Darkness usually makes its women wear. Whereas the Darkness seems to revel in lawlessness and chaos, the Light tends to prefer law and order, providing for properly maintained roads, a court system, and safe cities.

Yet despite all of this, the Light is not always a bringer of good and hope. It can, in fact, be just as vicious as the Dark, if not worse.

In one of those instances where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the Light isn't always what it appears to be. Sometimes, a battle with an obviously Light-wielding character will not result in Defeat Meaning Friendship or an Epiphany Therapy, but will just end with a laser-scorched corpse and the shiny happy killer skipping off to continue using their sunshine-fueled powers to wreak decidedly unholy havoc. There is a reason why the word Lucifer in Latin, literally means "Light Bringer".

Anti Heroes generally fall under Dark Is Not Evil rather than this Trope unless they're a Knight Templar, like for instance, a ruthless Church Militant who works with the good guys. Light Is Not Good is when a character is directly bad, directly villainous — and still has Light powers. Depending on characterization, they might be sympathetic, perhaps well-intentioned but horribly misguided. Or the person could be the most gleefully twisted bastard imaginable.

The mildest form of this Trope involves beautiful, charismatic villains dressed in white and surrounded by religious symbols, often of some form of sun worship. A step further features a villain who wields Light as an elemental power. Whether by technology or magic, they can bend physical light to their whims, displaying such powers as beauty-enhancing sparkles or an angelic glow, optical illusions and holograms, Mind Control through Laser-Guided Amnesia, blinding flashes, and laser beams. For artistic contrast and further deconstruction, they might be opposed by a hero who uses shadows and darkness as Elemental Powers.

Commonly used with Fallen Heroes and Knights Templar. Often used together with the Path of Inspiration or Corrupt Church. Perhaps might even go so far as to cast aspersions on a Council of Angels. At the most extreme, it declares God and Heaven Above are a bunch of evil scumbags (and if not God, then perhaps a Demiurge Archetype). May well occur in a villain's Yin-Yang Bomb, in which case the heroes probably need to produce one of their own to combat it.

Crapsaccharine Worlds are often depicted as highly polished, brightly lit, and cheerful almost to the point of cloying. Of course, the true nature of the society is gradually revealed over the course of the narrative, making it an instance of this trope. In some settings, this trope can manifest in the form of Ascetic Aesthetic, as the latter not only gives the impression that something rotten hides under that shiny white exterior, but is also the aesthetic of choice for societies that value absolute order and conformity a bit too much. (e.g. the city from Mirror's Edge).

This trope is an inversion of the standard that "Light = Good". Like with Dark Is Not Evil, Light Is Not Good can subvert or avert a number of other Tropes depending on how it comes into play — usually Beauty Equals Goodness and Good Colors, Evil Colors, among others. By now you get the idea that, just like how, sometimes Dark Is Not Evil, sometimes Light Is Not Good. Some will view the Light itself as natural, and darkness as nothing more than an absence of it. Others will see Light as a destructive force, a perversion of the infinite all-encompassing Darkness.

Light and Dark are both oversimplified metaphors for Good and Evil, not truly synonymous terms. Looking at the matter rationally, too much sunlight causes burns, sunstroke, skin cancer, and drought, which is bad; whereas nightfall and sufficient shade provide relief and rest, which is good. So, neither physical brightness nor physical shade can be all good or all bad. Elements are properly value-neutral. note 

This trope is not about an Obviously Evil character such as a Bedsheet Ghost wearing white, although they may fall under Bright Is Not Good. To qualify a character must fit with what is culturally thought of light. An angel wearing bright clothes with White Magic or simply a classical unicorn as the villains are good examples; a simple Corrupt Church cleric or a white-haired handsome youth simply using their attractiveness to get away with misdeeds is pushing it depending on who you ask; a Monster Clown wearing white makeup but otherwise not brightly coloured, not attractive or not possessing holy powers is most definitely not. Someone who is beautiful but otherwise not light-related in any way is definitely out. Add a sun (powers, jewelry, name, whatever), however, and we're listening. And an Eldritch Abomination with light powers is definitely in. Divinely Appearing Demons are demons who look angelic in appearance.

Keep in mind that stories where Light Is Not Good do not automatically enforce Dark Is Not Evil. In fact, stories where Dark Is Evil and Light Is Not Good are commonplace to show that the light can be just as foul as darkness. In addition, some stories may use BOTH Light Is Not Good and Light Is Good at the same time, with good light-based characters calling the evil ones Hypocrites.

In the context of Order vs. Chaos, Order Is Not Good serves as this trope's counterpart, the former which Light Is Not Good tends to go hand-in-hand with as mentioned above.

See also Pure Is Not Good, Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, Villain in a White Suit, Albinos Are Freaks, Ethereal White Dress, Lawful Stupid, Good Is Boring, Dangerously Garish Environment, White Is Pure. May result in Good Powers, Bad People. Often overlaps with Light 'em Up and Holy Hand Grenade. Oh, while we're at it, laser beams are made of light too. Fire (particularly Fanatical Fire) can be applied to this as well, as well as electricity and ice, as well as the blinding flash provided by Nuclear Weapons or an gamma-ray burst or asteroid/comet impact. In this case, see also Bright Is Not Good, which only applies to colors. Not related to Good is Not Nice, though the borders can be fluid. If combined with a touch of Red Is Violent, you'll get White and Red and Eerie All Over.

Related to Daylight Horror. Occasionally the Sun expresses this trope in fiction, generally either as sun-powered villains or as evil or creepy disembodied heads representing the Sun, but sometimes the sun (or sun god) itself is seen as malevolent. Even more common than the Sun in this context is the full moon, especially when werewolves are involved. See also Hiding Behind Religion, which can be considered a more realistic version of this trope.

Examples with subpages:

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    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, White Wolf has white fur but is just as willing to capture goats as the other wolves. In fact, he's able to capture and eat goats nearly every day, a feat that's all but impossible for the other wolves.

    Films - Animation 
  • Darla Dimple, the child actress Big Bad of Cats Don't Dance has a pink heart motif. This motif appears all over the place in her Villain Song wherein she plots the downfall of our heroes.
  • Some animated Disney movies feature delusional light:
  • As noted by some reviewers there is a strong light motiff in The House (2022):
    • In the first segmnent Van Schoobeek comes in a lit carriage, the parents are hypnotised and corrupted by the electric lights and Mabel and Isobel are drawn to the light of the fire, that consumes everything.
    • In the second segment the one gadget that the Developer tries to show the most is a bulb in the oven, which fails him when he needs it most.
    • In the final segment the world is covered by an eerie white fog. But Light Is Good is also present as an emancipated Rosa follows the light of the sun at the end.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, murderous villain Tai Lung is a snow leopard, whose fur is light grey and white, and he's willing to rampage the entire valley just for being denied access to the Dragon Scroll. In the sequel, Lord Shen is a white peacock who is a ruthless conqueror. He is perfectly willing to commit genocide on the Giant Pandas to thwart a prophecy and then kill anyone in the way of his ambitions. Chillingly fitting considering that, in the Chinese culture, white is the color of death.
  • The Prince of Egypt very much uses this for the final plague; when God Himself sends the Angel of Death itself to smite the firstborn. It appears as a downright Lovecraftian white gust of wind. Any house struck by it has a white flash inside.
  • The Great Candlestick from The Painting is painted in bright colors, but he's a Knight Templar who goes to extremes to maintain the status quo in the world of the painting.
  • In The Star God's light drove the barn animals insane due to insomnia.
  • The french animated movie Time Masters has an evil alien God of light that turns people into completely white, blank faced angels.
  • Toy Story 3: Sunnyside Daycare may sound like a nice place, but it's not. Even in its brightest daytime glory, it is not. Also, there's the famous quote, referring to almost literal Hellfire:
    Rex: "Hey, I can see daylight! We're gonna be OK!"
    Woody: "I don't think that's daylight..."
  • The Big Bad of Zootopia is a tiny white sheep by the name of Dawn Bellwether.

  • Kalutika Maybus, the God of Light in Rebirth, wants to destroy the human race because his life as a human in the 1600s was very unpleasant. Prior to attaining (or growing into) godhood, he was the main character, half-vampire Deshiwitat's close friend. After Desh failed to save Kal's beloved sister, Kal had a Heroic BSoD and became a god. He then vaporized Desh's girlfriend Lilith right before his eyes and sealed Desh in stone for 300 years. Currently, he has somehow revived Lilith and made her his wife/consort. They apparently have a son, a powerful vampire called Gray. In spite of their connections with the vampire race, they're planning on killing them all before moving on to humans (Kal has already destroyed the Galactic Senate Council of Gods which govern his actions).

  • Jus Josh's rendition of Beyoncé's Halo is a pretty striking example, using holy imagery to describe a jerk boyfriend and how he doesn't deserve the halo on his forehead. It's pretty much the opposite of Beyoncé's song, where the divine motifs are unironic.
    Take that halo off your forehead. Nothing's heavenly about you
    An angel ain't an angel when it's burning from above you.
    A star is just a mockery, mocking me, too far to reach.
    See beyond these halo dreams
    I can't see right through your halo.
    He's the angel with the halo in this damn song.
  • The lyrics of Linkin Park's "Iridescent" have this odd stanza:
    "And in the burst of light that blinded every angel/
    As if the sky had blown the heavens into stars/
    You felt the gravity of temper grace falling into empty space/
    No one there to catch you in their arms"
  • Music of the Night in The Phantom of the Opera: "Turn your face away/from the garish light of day./Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light."
  • Evil Angel by Breaking Benjamin.
  • Evil Angel is also the name of a song by Rufus Wainwright.
  • "Tornado of Souls" by Megadeth.
  • Lady Gaga's video for "Bad Romance." White walls and furnishings, bright lighting, lots of white and/or sparkly costumes, and the plot (as far as the audience can tell) involves slavery and murder.
    • "Alejandro" has her character as dressing white, saint like robes; depending on who you ask, she was meant to represent the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy (although, depending on how you feel about that, she might be your hero). And the infamous ending had her face melting away while her eyes and mouth were replaced by light; many will be glad to inform you of how terrifying that looked.
  • "Lights will guide you home/And ignite your bones"
  • From, ironically enough, "In The Dark Of The Night" from Anastasia: "Let your evil shine!".
  • "Descent of the Archangel" by Kamelot.
  • Though it's hard to decipher the exact meaning, the narrator of Fleet Foxes' "The Shrine/An Argument" seems to have a strong aversion to sunlight.
  • Pepe Deluxé's Queen of the Wave. It's spelled out in the liner notes: the song "A Night and a Day" is "a poetic synopsis of Mainin's (whose name means 'light') first steps to becoming a light adrift on the seas, a lure to death for all those who followed him."
  • Blue Öyster Cult's Imaginos: "Call me Desdinova, the eternal light/These gravely digs of mine will surely prove a sight!"
  • Rammsteins "Hier kommt die Sonne": "The sun is shining out of my hands/ Can burn, can blind you/ When it breaks out of [my] fist/ Lays itself hotly on [your] face" ("Die Snne scheint mire aus den Händen/ Kann verbrennen, kann euch blenden/ Wenn sie as den Fausten bricht/ Legt sich heiß auf das Gesicht")
  • UNICORNS FROM HELL. Unicorns still have their "heavenly" look, but they're appearently nazis now.
  • "Dark Light" from the Kiss album Music from "The Elder".
  • The general message of Marilyn Manson is half this, half Dark Is Not Evil. Even the original Theme Naming was about this. The first half of the names was taken from a female sex symbol, and the second half from a convicted murderer. As Marilyn Manson himself said, Marilyn Monroe had bad qualities about her, and Charles Manson has good ones about him (environmentalism, for example). We see only the badness in people we're told are bad, and only the good in people we're told are good. Much of the band's songs and videos highlight these subjects, ranging from the video for Dope Hat's even darker take on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory's boat scene, to Coma White, a song about suicide by OD, to the entire character of Omega (pronounced oh-me-ga) from Mechanical Animals, who is completely white as paper besides for his hair and makeup (and sometimes even his hair is white), but is a dead inside rock star androgynous space alien. The Unseen, Alpha (also called Mar1lyn Man5on due to Manson's obsession with 15), meanwhile, is a hopeless romantic, who is the other protagonist of the album and sings the emotional songs on it. Manson himself, although dressing in all black most of the time, and covered in tattoos, is an intelligent, Deadpan Snarker who often shows that, despite his shocking image, is actually extremely laid back. His closest love in the world is his pet cat, Lily White, who he considers his child.
  • Played with interestingly in the Iron Maiden song "Lord of Light." The Lord of Light in question is, of course, Lucifer, but there is room for doubt as to how evil he's meant to be (not helped by the fact that he's one of the narrators in the song, all of which are unreliable). Is he trying to tempt the character(s) he's speaking to into sin? Warn them away from the fate he's consigned himself to? Provide them with a suitable alternative to their own corrupt religion? It's impossible to say.
  • The Spawn of Possession song "Apparition" has the titular angel who appears as a being of light, who convinces the father of a family to murder his wife and daughter. It later reveals itself to be a demon as it takes his son away.
  • The Avantasia song "Wake Up To The Moon": The lines "Follow your heart and run/ Seek shelter from the day" and "Child of the ocean floor/ No need of daylight that deceives you" in particular.

    Music Videos 
  • In Danger Days, the album by My Chemical Romance, the main antagonist throughout the videos is Better Living Industries, a Mega-Corp that deals entirely in pristine monochrome. Black and white logo, white vending machines, etc.
  • Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe takes place in an almost all-white facility that is reminiscent of a church and discusses "cleansing" and "coming into the light" repeatedly.
  • In Miserable by Lit, Pam/Vallery has golden blonde hair, wears a bikini that is almost entirely white, and even has white nail polish. However, that doesn't make her good. Despite seeming friendly at first, once she's done being climbed on by the band, she starts gleefully devouring each member one-by-one as they beg her for mercy.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Lampshaded by Jerry Lawler during the WrestleMania 20 main event. Triple H wore white boots and Lawler said that only good guys wore white.
    • Triple H loves this trope. Whenever he's a heel he'll wear lighter colors, go clean shaven, clean his hair or even dye his hair to a lighter shade of blonde, all to invoke this. Contrasting to when he plays a face, he'll wear darker colors, muss his hair a bit, and grow out a beard.
  • During the 2009 feud between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, Michaels was dressed in white and used a lot of Christian iconography to contrast with The Undertaker, yet his attitude in the weeks prior to their match was less than admirable.
    • Michaels actually dressed up in a straight out white version of Undertaker's pre-match gear and did Taker's entrance to a T when he did this.
    • Being that his opponent is a self-professed embodiment of evil, a little insolence is justified.
  • Mordecai, a short-lived gimmick portrayed by wrestler Kevin Fertig. Mordecai dressed in all white and used a religious gimmick based heavily off of the Opus Dei as portrayed in The Da Vinci Code.
    • Fans had wondered how long it would be before Mordecai, who was a Knight Templar gimmick character, would end up in a feud with The Undertaker, since 'Taker is a case of Dark Is Not Evil and seems to play with the idea that Satan Is Good, or at least neutral. But Mordecai was only around for about two weeks or so and then vanished into thin air.
  • Brother Love, a No Celebrities Were Harmed parody of obnoxious televangelists.
  • CM Punk started out as a rebellious and eccentric but still good-hearted athlete who avoided drugs and alcohol because "my only addiction is competition." As a face, he never tried to convert anyone to his "straight-edge" lifestyle and in fact was often mocked or even persecuted for his beliefs. All that changed in the summer of 2009, when his Money in the Bank world championship contract put him directly in contact with Jeff Hardy, another free spirit who had been known in the past for his occasional lapses into drug use. After winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Hardy and retaining it via questionable means, Punk became an arrogant character and declared that Hardy did not deserve to be champion because he was morally weak. As time passed, Punk became more megalomaniacal and finally convinced himself that it was his duty to be a "savior" to the "impure" people of the world. He gathered a cadre of followers into his "Straight-Edge Society" and finally emerged as a figure quite similar to the Reverend Jim Jones (although he physically resembled Charles Manson) whose followers virtually worshipped him and were willing to commit heinous crimes in the name of his "righteous" cause.
    • So, essentially, Punk as a face: Dark Is Not Evil. Punk as a Knight Templar heel: this trope. And knowing how Punk's character has actually been this way since before he even came to WWE, as well as how both the positive and militant sides exist to the straight edge movement in real life; Punk's career is essentially Truth in Television.
      • Punk developed further and further into this trope. After defeating Cena at Money in the Bank, being the "voice of the voiceless", discussing ice cream bars, fighting "the man" (John Laurinaitas), getting sympathy due to attacks from Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Nash, etc. Punk did a gradual face shift after reverting back to his old "Cult of Personality" theme music while reigning as the WWE champion. He and Cena and all the other top faces became buddies and stuff. He even went from wearing black shirts to white shirts. But this all turned out to be a facade and returned to his heelish ways by attacking Rock, Lawler, and being accompanied by shady manager Paul Heyman. In spite of this, he still touts the bright white shirt. For a while he still talked as if he was good, and attempted (quite eloquently) to justify his attack against the Rock, and how that wasn't betraying the WWE universe at all.
  • Alberto Del Rio, a Smug Snake aristocrat who is obsessed with money and the upper class. He tends to wear a white scarf to the ring, but has averted this at points by wearing a black scarf. This is also played straight with his white ring gear, but again averted with him sometimes wearing black gear.
  • Randy Orton in his early days with his golden pyro, flickering golden lights and even his theme song "Burn in my Light".
  • Goldust, in his "Seven" promo video for WCW, had switched to white makeup.
  • Cody Rhodes, formerly of Team Rhodes Scholars with Damien Sandow, is very well groomed, constantly smiles, and has a lot of white on his jacket these days.
    • Ever since his Heel-Face Turn, he's been wearing more black as opposed to all the white he wore as a heel making him an example of Dark Is Not Evil as well.
  • Averted with "Sin Cara Negro", the black-masked imposter who hounded the original blue-masked "Sin Cara Azul".
  • Take away the Hawaiian shirt he wore to the ring, and Waylon Mercy wrestled in all white despite being a heel.
  • Right to Censor had a Dress Code where all the members wore white shirts despite being heels.
  • Irwin R. Schyster wore a white shirt despite being a heel. Justified, since his character was an evil wrestling IRS agent, and thus would have had to adhere to a dress code.
  • CHIKARA's heel faction Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes wore a lot of white. This was most significant when Delirious joined them, since he usually wore green and black.
  • Gangrel and Christian during the Brood days, were shown with white blouses. Gangrel is more ambiguous seeing as it's never been established what his true motives were.
  • In Progress Wrestling Jimmy Havoc who had been the top heel often wears white.
  • After doing a full heel turn in late 2019, while retaining the colorful outfit, Bayley's new entrance is accompanied by golden flickering lights, and her new rock/metal theme song starts with an angelic chorus.

  • Of course, who else than the Lightbringer himself, the Fallen Angel of Light, God's former most favourite, Lucifernote . Also in the Bible,note  Satan can still appear to men as an "angel of light," making this Older Than Feudalism. According to tradition, if Satan appeared before a person, they couldn't help but fall down and worship him because of his celestial beauty. Just as in the Bible, when an angel appears to someone as something obviously not just a man, the first thing he says is either "Be not afraid" or "Don't worship me!"—as angels in other parts of the Bible tended to kill cities when they were sent.
    • This extends to some beliefs that demons look exactly like the winged angels that they used to be; having only changed inside when they fell, not outwardly. And don't really look like the hideous horned red-skinned beings as depicted. If an army of demons and angels fought each, there would be no telling the two sides apart.
    • Some refer to Sorath (the geomantic spirit of the Sun) as the Anti-Christ and true villain behind Satan because his sacred number is 666. As it happens, there are no references of Sorath in The Bible. The number 666 in the Book of Revelation represents a being that is subordinate to Satan.
    • Even in the context of The Bible, the Levantine deity Moloch is correctly identified as a solar deity. According to the Bible, he demanded child sacrifices. While archaeologists can't verify this exactly, recent evidence suggests that Carthage did perform such sacrifices a lot.
    • It's in more than just the folklore, it's canon (in the both senses of the word).
    • The first of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse rides a white horse and represents Conquest. There's also the pale horse, whose rider is Death, though most scholars think that means pale green.
  • The Abrahamic God is viewed by some religions as their God of Evil, as is the case in Gnosticism.
  • The Bible also has a villain named Laban, which means "white." One Jewish interpretation is that this name is better understood as white as in "blank"—Laban was a Manipulative Bastard with no real moral code, but because of this, he could easily put on whichever one was currently useful (businessman, family man, etc.)
  • Buddhist eschatology claims that the world will be destroyed by seven suns burning everything.
  • The Yang principle. Literally meaning "sunlight", it represents fire, heat, aggressiveness and war.
  • Papuan Mythology (more specifically the Massim region) has Dudugera, the god of the sun. He is portrayed in a remarkably negative light, aiming to burn all life and even called a "terrible affliction on the world".
  • In Japanese Mythology, Onryou always wear a white kimono (shinishozuko) because that is the standard clothing dead are buried in. And yet, they're vengeful spirits that can haunt a place even after they have been laid to rest. They are also often portrayed with bright fireballs next to them (hitodama) that represent souls in the afterlife.
    • Yuki-Onna are stereotypically depicted wearing white kimonos. But they were originally evil spirits, that lead the lost and gullible to their icy doom.
  • The color white in general is associated with death in Japanese culture and mythology (rather than black like in most cultures). This may be due to bones being white.
  • In grimoires and western esoteric tradition, the Sun is associated with pride and arrogance. Leo at its worst is a hubris-dominated little shit, or an outright tyrant. In Indian astrology, the Sun (represented by the god Surya) is a "malefic" planet. Even in popular parlance, "flying too close to the sun" is a common metaphor for self-destructive hubris, alluding to how Icarus of Classical Mythology melted the wax attaching the feathers to his wings and plummeted to his doom.
  • Bila from Aboriginal Australian Myths is a sun that also happens to be a cannibal, roasting her victims over a fire. That's where daylight comes from.
  • In Mayan Mythology:
    • In the Popol Vuh the demonic macaw Vucub Caquix claims to be the sun and moon and light the world, before the Hero Twins (who would later become the sun and moon) end his tyranny.
    • Kinich Ahau the sun god is mostly benevolent, but his marriage with the moon goddess Ix Chel was abusive, culminating with him scarring her face.
    • Chak Ek is the god of the planet Venus and just about as luciferian as that other guy associated with the morning star, seething over his brother's brilliance and routinely murdering other gods, causing warfare, starvation and social unrest on earth.
  • In Indo-European mythologies, the dawn goddess is generally a figure of ambivalence, as dawn shortens our days, placing us closer to death with each sunrise. In Hindu Mythology, the dawn goddess Ushas is outright stated to make us old, while in Classical Mythology Eos asked Zeus to make her lover immortal, but forgot the old age part, and as such he withered to a cricket.
  • In Brazilian folklore, the Boitatá is a serpent of light that incinerates or blinds those that it comes across. Legend says that, when the earth was plunged into darkness, it feasted upon the eyes of those who couldn't see in the dark, and that is why it became a luminous creature. On the plus side, though, it did end said night...
  • Egyptian Mythology:
    • Sekhmet. Aside from Apophis (who's a different kind of evil), she is the most hostile of the Egyptian deities. Her most infamous myth is basically her slaughtering half of mankind in the name of Ra, who had to resort to drug her to stop the rampage. She's associated with the midday Sun and the desert, symbolizing the destructive and sterile power of light. Set to some extent as well, as he too is associated with the desert and the harsh Sun.
    • Hathor is associated with the Sun and the Sky... And two variants of Sekhmet's above myth, it's Hathor who does the deed, with Sekhmet either being the form she assumed when she went off the deep end and the gods had to get her drunk to prevent her from killing off the rest of mankind or the one who realized in horror that Hathor wouldn't stop and produced a lake of beer to get her drunk.
    • There's also an Egyptian demon that's basically a sun with a knife.
  • Archons are the gnostic equivalent of angels, and one, Adonaios, is associated with the Sun. Since Gnosticism has God Is Evil as a core philosophy, the archons are unsurprisingly considered malevolent or at least hostile.
  • Hyperion, the titan of light, can be interpreted as this, since the titans were enemies of the gods and he participated in the Titanomachy. However, some see the Titans as better than the Olympians, seeing as they brought a golden age to man, though most likely both groups were neutral and Hyperion was prone to this.
    • According to Hesiod and Homer, Ares is this.
    • According to some theories, the word "titan" comes from the word "τιτανος", which is another word for "white", more specifically white earth. The myth where this connotation is most obvious is in the Orphic myth of Zagreus, where Zeus' intended heir, as a child, is lured out by the Titans who, dressed in white and with white paint on their faces, proceed to dismember and cannibalize him.
    • Zeus, the father of the gods, is a fantastic example of this. While many Sadly Mythtaken portrayals depict him in a similar light to YHWH as a benevolent father figure and just ruler of Olympus, the original Greek myths make it clear that he had sex with everything and used his powers to get out of getting caught with his pants down as best as he could, and that he frequently couldn't care less for what might be good and just, as long as he got what he wanted. He's not exactly evil per se, but the myths do definitely portray him as seriously flawed.
    • Apollo as well: Apollo, who is often referred to as the god of light, often pulls dirty tricks to get his way, and at least once arranged for some mortals to commit a heinous act, but then abandons them to their fate shortly after committing said heinous act (e. g., Elektra and her brother avenging their father by killing their mother and her lover).
    • Circe is a daughter of the Sun god Helios, yet she is consistently portrayed as an antagonist. In addition, it was claimed that witches had a power called "evil eye", which was derived from Helios (who was also the god of sight).
      • Medea, Circe's niece and grand-daughter of Helios through her father, was the original Yandere and actually used the power of the "evil eye": when an indestructible bronze giant attacked the Argo, Medea looked in his eyes and caused him so much agony he killed itself.
  • Neto, a pre-Christian Lusitanian (aka Portugal south of river Douro) god, was a god of the sun but also a war god, presumably as an acknowledgement of the sun's deadly side. The other light related god in the Lusitanian Mythology, Endovelicus, was supposedly good, though once Christianity settled in he became associated with Lucifer.
  • While nowadays many people think Sirens Are Mermaids, their mythological counterparts resembled more the modern depictions of angels, being beautiful, winged women with a marvelous voice, while dooming sailors to their deaths.
  • "Lady Midday" from the Slavic Mythology. Unless you consider sun-stroke a good thing.
  • Lakota mythology features light and darkness as more reason and chaos. But following this theme, Yata, the north wind, is represented by white. He also causes harsh winters. Also, the wakinyan, or lightning gods, are either this or Good is Not Nice.
  • While the Celtic conflict between Balor and Lugh has been interpreted traditionally as the generic Dark Is Evil versus Light Is Good, things seem to have really been inverted: Balor seemingly was associated with the harsh Summer Sun, represented by his "evil eye" (see above), while Lugh was a thunder god that brought on the clouds and rain.
    • His Welsh's counterpart's name, Gronw Pebr, means "Gronw the radiant"...
  • Adlaw/Apolaki, the Philippine god of the Sun, fought against his sister Mayari the moon-goddess for supremacy of the world, refusing to share it with her, and even took out her eyes so that he could rule. He's also associated with war. In some versions he "only" takes out one of Mayari's eyes instead of both, but he realizes he's gone way too far and lets her rule the world by night, while he gets to rule in the daytime. Being (part-)blind is why the moon is no longer as bright as the sun. Fridge Brilliance REALLY kicks in when you remember that Mayari was formerly a sun-deity herself, as there was no moon OR nighttime before she lost the duel, and is known as the goddess of REVOLUTION.

  • In Angels in America, the angels are fantastic beings (and the main one is played by Emma Thompson in the HBO mini-series), but they all lack the ability to imagine, which means that they are all extremely bureaucratic and rather useless, unable to figure out how to cure the "plague" (HIV). Their idea to bring back the missing God is to order humanity to stop moving forward and progressing.
  • In the original version of the play Auto da Barca do Inferno written by Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente the angel (that was in charge of the boat that lead people to Heaven) was good (albeit a complete asshole), but in the most recent version of the play she is just as bad if not worse than the Devil.
  • This is a very common trope in late 18th/early 19th-century Romanticism. As Friedrich Nietzsche explored in The Birth of Tragedy, 18th century Classicism, which stressed order, civilization, and reason, was associated with the Greek sun god, Apollo. Whereas Romanticism, in defiance, stressed chaos, nature (or savagery), and emotions, and was associated with Dionysus, god of wine. Nietzsche's former mentor, Richard Wagner, used this in Tristan und Isolde: Isolde's husband, King Mark, is associated with civilization, sings harmonic lines, and is always well-lit on stage. The two lovers, meanwhile, are always seeking the darkness and the deep forest to hide their affair, sing chromatic lines and are motivated by emotion.
  • Javert of Les Misérables is an extremely pious police officer who, in his soliloquy, admires the stars for their "order and light". He also serves as the show's main antagonist. Given that he's more of an Anti-Villain than an actual villain, and that the most evil character is the properly dark and grimey Thenardier (who is Chaotic Evil to Valjean's Chaotic Good and Javert's Lawful Neutral), the trope is somewhat subverted.
  • In the version of The Phantom of the Opera which has emerged, Erik seems to fit this to some extent, being called the "Angel of Music" for his beautiful singing voice and rather than the hideous character of the novel is a handsome man whose partially scarred face is more of a Red Right Hand.
    • Ironically, Erik also lampshades this trope with the lyric line, "Turn your face away from the garish light of day./ Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light."
      • Bonus points, he even wears an iconic white mask.

    Visual Novels 
  • The main antagonist for the first half of Lands of Fire is the Sun Woman, a Composite Character of various sun goddesses in Aboriginal Australian cultures. In the Bangalaa route Parnuen, the Tasmanian sun god is the main villain, continuing the trend.
  • Tears to Tiara: Holy power is associated with purity, precision, belief and perfection, but when taken to extremes it also promotes blind faith, arrogance and self-righteous zealotry. The Empire is strongly associated with holy powers, which makes its more moderate members like Gaius and Octavia uneasy.
    • Said Empire is led by Lector, one of the Twelve Angels, all of whom have turned into vicious zealots ever since Watos the creator deity vanished, due to not having a single clue of what the latter's will actually is. They are responsible for purging every race that threatens to develop enough such that they equal or even surpass the Angels in their "perfection", and it got so bad to the point Watos is heavily implied to have created this universe's equivalent to Satan just to free the world from his mad kin. Light may not be good, but at least God has standards.


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Alternative Title(s): Light Is Evil


Emperor Nefarious

The true main antagonist of Rift Apart. After being impersonated by his alternate self while he was away researching the means to bridge worlds, the Emperor returns with a vengeance and forcefully reclaims his throne, dragging Dr. Nefarious along as he seeks the ultimate prize - to conquer every dimension imaginable.

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