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The Ghost King

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Respect the spectre.

The Ghost King is a character that...well, rules over other ghosts and is a ghost themselves. They will usually, but not always, be an evil-aligned character.

They can have minions that are The Undead and are sometimes ancient and powerful beings. Bonus points if they happen to be The Dreaded and/or are particularly nasty and horrifying.

For governments ruled by undead beings, see The Necrocracy. Compare and contrast Vampire Monarch.

This is a Subtrope of Ghastly Ghost.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure: In episode 10, the village consisting of Bakemon are serving their grand master that is also a Bakemon, but stronger and much bigger.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Emperor Zarekos, who is revived as a ghost, whose minions are majority ghosts, with a minority of vampires.
  • Mortified: The ruler of the Ghost Zone is considered to be the Ghost King (or Queen). Their job is to act as both a stabilizing agent for the Ghost Zone itself, and as an actual administrator for the Ghost Zone's inhabitants. Prior to the story, Pariah Dark was the last Ghost King, only for Ereshkigal to revoke his right to rule after he fell to madness and was locked away in the Sarcophagus of Forever Sleep. She promptly chooses Danny to succeed him, and a significant portion of the story is dedicated to preparing Danny for the role.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Return of the King: Facing Sauron's massive army marching on Minas Tirith, Aragorn seeks aid from the Army of the Dead (ghost knights who were cursed by Aragorn's ancestor Isildur for failing to fight alongside him after swearing to). Their King challenges Aragorn but is subdued by Aragorn's sword, and afterward swears fealty to him.

  • The Legend of Drizzt: Zigzagged with The Ghost King in Transitions, a hybrid of the undead red dragon Hephaestus, the seven liches from Crenshinbon, and the ghost of the illthidlid, Yharaskirk, although the ghosts partly still have the physical body of the dragon. In a reference to the Lich King, upon the defeat of the Ghost King, Cadderly is forced to become the new Ghost King, a benevolent one that guards the rift between life and death that his predecessor created.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: While not a ghost himself, Nico di Angelo is known in the Underworld as the Ghost King after taking the title from Minos in Battle of the Labyrinth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Brago, King Eternal, is a Spirit Noble legendary creature. Whenever he manages to hit an opponent, he can make your non-land permanents "ethereal" (they leave play momentarily). The card's art leaves no doubt on him being both a king and a ghost.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Pumpking the King of Ghosts is a Level 6 monstrous pumpkin king with one eye and vine tentacles, and he is the signature card of "Ghost" Kotsuzuka/Bonz. In the anime, it increases Zombie monsters' attack at the start of each standby phase but in the card game, its own ATK and DEF increases so long as Castle of Dark Illusions is face-up in the field for four turns.

    Video Games 
  • Realm of the Mad God: Ghost Kings are a common quest enemy, and they must be defeated as part of completing the realm. As for their authority, they summon spectral archers to defend themselves and are invulnerable while they're alive. Septavius the Ghost God utilizes a similar mechanic, re-summoning his minions near the end of his fight, and his sway over ghostkind is to the extent that he has his own dungeon (the Undead Lair) for himself and his ghostly subjects.
  • Sonic Adventure 2: In the Death Chamber, Knuckles the Echidna faces the colossal ghost known as King Boom Boo, also known as the King of Ghosts. As his name implies, he's the king of Boos and Boom Boos. To defeat him, Knuckles is required to open the hatches above through the use of hourglasses, allowing the sunlight to weaken him when he tries to retreat, and then strike him when he's vulnerable.
  • Super Mario Bros.: King Boo, the Big Bad of the Luigi's Mansion games, rules over all boos, a race of ghosts, and is one himself. He has no problem with brainwashing other ghosts to serve him, as well. Although, he'll occasionally join a kart race or two. Lady Bow of Paper Mario 64 also seems to be a sort of "ghost noble."
  • Touhou Project: Princess Yuyuko Saigyouji is a Cute Ghost Girl and the ruler of the Netherworld, the realm of ghosts and phantoms.

    Western Animation 
  • Beetlejuice has the ghostly Prince Vince, ruler of the Netherworld.
  • Danny Phantom: Pariah Dark is the ancient king of the Ghost Zone, commanding an army of skeletal warriors. When re-awoken by Vlad Plasmius, he kicked every other ghost out to reclaim his territory and then attacked Amity Park. Danny was only able to properly defeat him when he could steal his crown, the source of his power.
  • Filmation's Ghostbusters has a few beings who fancy themselves as this. Chief among them is Prime Evil, as well as a few backwater Ghost Kings such as Corpulon (an Expy of Jabba the Hutt).
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee has the Chairman, a cloaked figure who never speaks and runs the ghost council with an iron fist. Come the season one finale he's defeated by Molly and replaced by Scratch.
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures: Lord Betrayus is the leader of the Ghost World.
  • The Real Ghostbusters had to face off a few times against Ghostmaster, an extremely powerful ghost who, as his name indicated, ruled over a large number of lesser ghosts.