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Villainous Mother-Son Duo

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The family that slays together, stays together.

Morathi: And with these ashes my son, we have our revenge.
Malekith: No. I've only begun.
Dark Elves Trailer, Total War: Warhammer II

The Evil Counterpart of Momma's Boy. Mothers and sons are supposed to be loving and supportive of one-another. Sons turn to their mothers for comfort, advice, and guidance and their mothers provide it, together with constructive criticism, telling them when they've done something right and warning them when they're falling into error! Well, not these two.

This is a case when a villainous case of My Beloved Smother uses her son as a pawn and an accomplice to further her own ambitions. Maybe he's a Manchurian Agent whom she aims to get into a position of power so that she can wield power with him as her puppet or maybe she just treats him as a standard Mook in her criminal plans. Or maybe he's her Dragon. The son himself may be a weak-willed and not particularly evil individual who goes along with his mother's twisted machinations out of a sense of loyalty to her, combined with love and fear, or maybe he's a willing participant. In some cases, he's a Dragon with an Agenda whose snarkiness towards his mother indicates that he's planning on becoming The Starscream and maybe even a Self-Made Orphan! Or he may pull a Heel–Face Turn. As for the mother, domineering as she is, she may absolutely dote over her son or verbally abuse him and put him down at every turn. Or a mixture of both. In any case, Villainous Incest is all too frequently a subtext here. It also commonly overlaps with Extremely Protective Child, when the son will do anything to protect his mother.

Overlaps with The Family That Slays Together. Gender-Inverted Trope of Daddy's Little Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, a relatively new Shichibukai member, "Whitebeard Jr.", is assisted by his mother. He's strong yet dumb, while she manages him and basically uses him as a tool to gain profit.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, there's the thug J. Geil and his mother, Enya Geil. Both are under employ of Big Bad DIO, and Enya is especially angry at the heroes for defeating her son.

    Comic Books 


    Film — Animation 
  • In Robots, Corrupt Corporate Executive Ratchet at first appears to be the Big Bad but it turns out that he's just a puppet of his mother, Madame Gasket. She makes the plans and he carries them out. She's harsh on her son but seems to genuinely love him and he reciprocates it.
  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother is the Big Bad and intends for her son, Prince Charming to marry Princess Fiona and become king so that she can rule the Land of Far-Far-Away with him as her stooge. While she's a doting mother and he's a Spoiled Brat, they're a rare mutually respectful example of this trope.
  • Fire & Ice: Nekron and his mother Queen Juliana jointly rule the Kingdom of the North and plot to Take Over the World. However, Nekron is clearly the superior party, and is not amused by Juliana offering him a captured female slave in the expectation that he'll give her a grandchild.
  • The Princess and the Goblin: The Goblin race is being led by Prince Froglip and his mother the Goblin Queen. Froglip aims to conquer the humans in large part to make his Brawn Hilda of a goblin mama proud. The Queen in turn is genuinely loving and extremely doting towards her son, constantly praising Froglip and supporting him. Meanwhile, the Goblin King is such a Henpecked Husband that his wife and son have to come up with all the plans and do all the heavy lifting.
  • The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride has Zira as the Big Bad, aided by her three children, including her sons Nuka and Kovu. Zira blatantly favors Kovu and claims he was chosen to be Scar's heir, grooming him to kill Simba and take over the Pride Lands. Nuka tends to be an overlooked "Well Done, Son" Guy. Ironically, Kovu – who was never that evil in the first place – ends up having a change of heart and switches sides, while Nuka remains loyal to Zira, to the point of getting himself killed trying to fulfil her wishes. Zira is genuinely distraught over Nuka's death, though she immediately lashes out at Kovu and claims it was his fault. Kovu later tries to persuade his mother to stand down and make peace with Simba, but she refuses.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family featured Abigail and Gordon Craven, a mother and son team of grifters, loan sharks and scam artists, who seek to defraud the Addamses and steal their vast fortune by passing Gordon off as long lost family member Fester, who Gordon happens to bear a very strong resemblance to. Gordon mostly acts as Abigail's enforcer, and she is very controlling and even abusive to him at times, but despite him starting to identify with and even genuinely love the Addams clan, he stays loyal to his mother, up until the point Abigail orders the Cold-Blooded Torture of family matriarch Morticia. Gordon then pulls a Heel–Face Turn, helping free Morticia and putting a stop to Abigail's schemes. It is later revealed that Gordon isn't even Abigail's real son — he's actually Fester Addams, whom Abigail discovered years ago shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle, suffering from amnesia.
  • Psycho: Unbuilt Trope. It appears that Norman Bates and his (unseen) mother are running a Hell Hotel together, although Norman is horrified when he finds that his mother murdered Marion Crane and covers up her crime by disposing of Marion's body. In the climax it's revealed that "mother" is actually an evil Split Personality of Norman, created after killing his mother many years ago and suppressing the guilt by fooling his psyche to think she is still alive and not just a preserved skeleton. The real woman actually encouraged Norman to be more independent. However, later sequels retcon this, showing that although Norman and Norma were not actively in league together, she *did* play a large part in his Freudian Excuse.
  • Searching: Downplayed. Detective Rosemary Vick's son stalked, catfished, attacked, and - they thought - killed Margot. When he told her, Vick volunteered for the investigation and manipulated an ex-con into falsely confessing, then probably killed him so that David might never know the truth about his daughter's murder. However, Vick is shown to feel genuinely remorseful, completely Trapped in Villainy and to only want to protect her son, while Robert — if we can trust Vick — apparently feels the same.
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger : Zenobia is an evil sorceress who is the main villain of the movie. Her son Rafi assists her in her evil plots, including trying to assassinate Sinbad at the beginning of the film and attempting to kill the sage Malanthius near the end. It's made clear that both Zenobia and Rafi love each other as mother and son.
  • Sleepwalkers. Mary Brady and her son Charles Brady are Voluntary Shapeshifter monsters who perform Vampiric Draining of Life Energy from female human virgins. They work together to obtain victims so they can feed.
  • Bad Boys for Life has the Aretas family, with Isabel calling the shots and Armando answering to her.
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Mike Teavee and his mother have agreed to Arthur Slugworth's offer to supply him with an Everlasting Gobstopper from Wonka's factory. In addition to that they also spend the tour looking for other secrets that they can sell to Slugworth, like the Wonkamobile.
    Mike: Do you think Slugworth would pay extra to know about this?
    Mrs. Teavee: Just keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.

  • In Beowulf, a rather old example of the trope would be the monstrous man-eating Grendel and his even more monstrous mother. Fitting enough, Grendel's mother is (somewhat understandably) furious when she discovers that her son has been slain and seeks to avenge him by continuing where he left off and later trying to kill his killer, Beowulf.
  • Rawneth of Randir and her son Kenan in Chronicles of the Kencyrath. She orchestrated quite a few murders to make him Lord Randir and herself Randir Matriarch, and the two of them have one of the more functional parent-child relationships in the Kencyrath—they're a solid evil team, said to "speak with a single voice."
  • I Heard That Song Before: It's revealed that the main villains of the novel are Richard Walker and his mother Elaine. Richard is generally the instigator, with Elaine grudgingly helping clean up his messes. Elaine would be arrested as an accessory for murder and lose her cushy lifestyle, so she has little choice but to help Richard, though she admits he knows how to sweet-talk her too and she doesn't want to see him jailed or harmed (even if it's his own fault). Richard seems to have some level of care for his mother, though it doesn't stop him from dragging her into his murderous schemes or begging her to lend him money. They're both willing to let Elaine’s stepson Peter take the fall for Richard's crimes to save themselves.
  • In Death: Madeline Bullock, the main antagonist of Born In Death, is a particularly nasty version. She uses her son Chase as the muscle in her infant trafficking operation, having Chase kill off her targets. She's likewise been sexually abusing Chase since his childhood. Eve Dallas outright accuses her of intentionally corrupting him for her own benefit.
  • Perhaps the most iconic and horrifying example of this is The Manchurian Candidate in which Manipulative Bitch extraordinaire, Senator Eleanor Iselin has her son brainwashed into becoming an assassin by Chinese Communists so that she can use him to kill all of her husband's rivals for the presidency. Her husband's of the henpecked variety so if he were President, she'd still presumably be the one wearing the trousers and therefore President in all but name, making Eleanor an example of Lady Macbeth as well. Fortunately her son, Raymond Shaw is ultimately able to break free of her mind-control. There's a definite Incest Subtext between them which is made very obvious in the films and outright confirmed in the book. Eleanor was sexually abused by her own father, making her an arguable Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Teen Power Inc.: In "Green for Danger", it turned out that the criminal who was after the precious emeralds was just a pawn in the hands of his mother, a local flower lady who pretended to be a kind and harmless Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Queen Cersei Lannister is a very ambitious and cunning woman who holds her children very dearly particularly with her eldest son, Joffrey, who has shown signs of being a narcissist and sociopath. After Joffrey becomes King of Westeros, Cersei doesn't care about the abuses that her son made during his reign as long as he holds in the Iron Throne regardless what their opponents say about his parentage and her incestuous affair with her twin brother, Jaime. When Joffrey was poisoned during his wedding, she becomes very paranoid of the people around her to the point of attempting to control her youngest son, Tommen, after he becomes king only to be very disappointed that he's nothing like his abusive older brother.
  • Redwall: In Taggerung, Antigra is obsessed with the idea of her son Gruven being the titular Taggerung (a prophesied warrior meant to be The Ace). Unfortunately, Gruven is an utter dumbass lacking the wit, strength and skill to be even a competent vermin leader (and would have no drive at all if it wasn't for his mother's ambitions).
  • Wagons West: The Hastings Gang in Montana! is led by a mother and son duo. There is another son, but he is hardly involved in any decision making.
  • White Indian: the witch Melisande and her adopted son Othon Hugues.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Alien Hunter," Kathy Bates plays a vicious alien hunter named Charlotte. She's assisted by her Igor-like son Ned.
  • Bates Motel plays with this. As the whole series serves as a Start of Darkness for Norman Bates, his unusually codependent relationship with his mother Norma is the main focus. However, while the Bates become embroiled in several illegal activities in the town in order to survive, Norman's real Corrupter is his Split Personality "Mother", especially following Norma's death.
  • Blood Ties (2007): Lavena O'Connor the main antagonist of "Deadly Departed". When her son Magnus was in his teens, Lavena used black magic to corrupt him into a "killing machine", renting him out to perform brutal assassinations to pay for her lifestyle and business. Following Magnus being arrested, Lavena forced him to perform a ritual that would bar his soul from the afterlife, and then used his spirit to carry on killing those who took him away from her. Magnus is even thankful to Vicki at the end for freeing him from his evil mother.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Jimmy Darmody teams up with his (very young) mother Gillian in their plot to take over Atlantic City from Nucky Thompson in season 2. The Darmody family history is very sordid and tragic. Gillian was pimped out as an innocent teenage girl to the Commodore by Nucky, resulting in Jimmy's conception. Gillian herself would later initiate a sexual encounter with Jimmy during a drunken night at his college. To complete the entire Oedipal drama, Gillian eggs him on to kill both the Commodore, Jimmy's biological father, as well as Nucky, Jimmy's adopted father figure.
  • Criminal Minds has had one true set in the case of the imprisoned Truckstop Killer and the son she rediscovers and manipulates into killing her "enemies", and one son who believes his crimes are going to get his White-Dwarf Starlet mother back into the limelight and prove himself to her, while she's actually been dead (and a mummified corpse in his house) for years.
  • Rosanna Calvieri and her son Francesco in Vampires of Venice.
  • I, Claudius gives us Livia, a Machiavellian Roman matriarch who marries the Emperor Augustus, whom she intends to kill in order to put her son, Tiberius on the throne. Decades later, Agrippina tries the same gambit with her husband the Emperor Claudius and her son Nero. Sadly, Truth in Television in the latter case.
  • Law & Order and its spinoffs have many examples:
    • The Law & Order episode "Venom", is about a pair of mother-son con artists, and murderers, who married wealthy people for their money and then killed each other's spouses in order to inherit the money. The son's wife forgives him and still intends to defend him, but he refuses to turn against his mother, even after it turns out she abused him. (This is a theme with the Law And Orders.)
    • In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Diamond Dogs", Logan and Barek search for a mother-son duo of jewelry-store thieves.
    • In the Lawand Order Special Victims Unit episode "Pique" there's a variant. Mother and son Grace and Jason Mayberry don't kill or commit crime together, but Grace raped Jason from the age of present day, which drove him to rape and kill other women he was attracted to. Grace covers up for him, but only, it seems, out of concern for what might happen to her or her reputation.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Dr. Clayton Forrester was sometimes visited by his overbearing mother Pearl, until his sidekick TV's Frank was Put on a Bus and then replaced by Pearl in season 7. After Clayton himself was written out of the show, she took over full-time as the main villain until the Revival, which featured Clayton's daughter (and Pearl's granddaughter) Kinga.
  • The Nightmare Fuel-packed 1998 TV series of Oliver Twist makes posthumous character in the book, Agnes Leeford, a case of Greater-Scope Villain who was determined to murder her husband and claim his vast fortune. She was reluctantly assisted in her plans by her sniveling son, Edward, better known as Monks, whom she treated with utter contempt. After she died of alcoholism, Edward, under the pseudonym of Monks tried to finish what she started by trying to get his stepfather's fortune. Ultimately he does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue features Queen Bansheera and her weak-minded son Olympius whom she treats with utter disdain due to his repeated failures to defeat the Rangers. Olympius starts off as quite a sinister demon baby called Impus who absorbs the Star Power of Diabolico after the latter's destruction and becomes the grown demon Olympius who was powerful enough to singlehandedly curbstomp all of the Rangers and could change shape but in his first episode he falls into a pool of water, causing him to lose most of his powers. He's largely disdained as a result by his fellow demons and spends most of the series trying to gain his mother's approval, to little avail.
  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul: Downplayed with Mahperi Hatun and Giyaseddin. While the former certainly holds a grudge against Ertugrul and has her own agenda for dethroning Sultan Alaeddin, the latter only acts hostile toward Ertugrul after his father dies, not knowing that Sadettin was the one who administered the murder or that his mother had conspired against the sultan. Not only that, but both of them reform after being offered shelter in the Kayi grounds.
  • Magnificent Century: Kösem: Played with Halime and her children. Nominally, her goal is to make her son Mustafa a sultan, however, he is unable to help her in any way because of his mental illness and even when he becomes a ruler, he's basically her puppet. Halime is instead helped by her daughter princess Dilruba and Dilruba's husband Davud pasha.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Arthurian Legend: Morgana le Fay is often depicted as the mother of Mordred, raising him to kill King Arthur and usurp his throne in revenge on Arthur's father for killing her father and seducing her mother. (In some versions, she and Arthur are siblings!)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Malekith the Witch-King and his mother Morathi the Hag Sorceress from Warhammer Fantasy epitomize this trope. After Malekith was passed over for the position of Phoenix King, Morathi fostered the hatred and jealousy in her son and founded multiple insidious cults to sow corruption among the High Elves in order to further their agenda. This resulted in a full-scale civil war which saw them and the Dark Elves being exiled from their homeland. Their manipulations would not stop there, seeing as they also played a hand in causing the War of the Beard that shattered the alliance between the High Elves and the Dwarfs. Due to Dark Magic, they are both still around to the present as rulers of the Dark Elves, and while they might collaborate from time to time, Malekith is pragmatic enough to give his mother's intentions a wide berth when they conflict with his. In older editions, they were also known to engage in Villanous Parental Incest.
    • They are both still at it in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, except now they are both Elven Gods and are the Token Evil Teammates of the Grand Alliance of Order (due to pulling an Enemy Mine with the forces of Order during the End Times). Following the Broken Realms Saga, in which Morathi turned on the rest of Order by forcibly annexing the city of Anvilgard, they are back to a more villainous relationship as they had in the World that Was.

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: Subverted with regard to Queen Zeal and Magus. Although he does briefly work for her as the Prophet and helps in capturing the heroes, he's actually there to carry out his own agenda (by being at Lavos' summoning in the hopes of preventing it from making his sister Schala disappear). After the events of Antiquity unfold and if you recruit him, he can even be used to fight her. Going by dialogue, Queen Zeal's original personality and any love she had for her children is long gone, replaced by devotion to Lavos.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Enkidu consistently refers to Tiamat as his "mother", alluding to the fact that he's actually Kingu, Tiamat's son and consort, using the hero's body. She ultimately discards him once she's freed and replaced with the Lahmu, prompting him to rebel in the finale by turning into the Chains of Heaven to temporarily bind her, buying the heroes valuable time.
  • Final Fantasy X: Seymour's signature Aeon is Anima, a hideous monster actually made from the soul of his mother, which he uses to oppose the party. It doesn't actually get a say in how it's used, and it's possible to acquire and use it against Seymour in a later battle, prompting him to say that even she turned against him.
  • In Sable's Grimoire: Man and Elf, the dark elf Meave and her son Hagan are partners in crime. Hagan is just a child and doesn't want to do bad things or hurt anybody, but he goes along with his mother's schemes out of a desire to please her. Meave doesn't care what Hagan wants and will Mind Control him if he objects to her commands even slightly.
  • Wild ARMs takes this to a rather disturbing level. Zeikfried revives Mother out of a sense of loyalty and duty towards her but quickly rethinks this decision when she reveals she intends to destroy him as well the world. Zeikfried then betrays her by helping the heroes get the Tear Drop back and urging them to destroy her as soon as possible. But then the game brings in the Nightmare Fuel by having Mother eat him alive and take over his body. The penultimate boss is the two of them fused as one entity.
    • Wild ARMs: Million Memories does the same but greatly tones it down. This time Zeikfried openly betrays Mother with the final chapter opening with him and Rudy fighting to take her down, and a huge argument between mother and son.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Whenever they manage to get on the same page, Jack W. Tweeg and his mother Eleanor are this. She will not miss a chance to berate and belittle him, but Eleanor is quite supportive of her son's villainous career and will express pride when he manages to pull off a dastardly plan (one example being when he sold her to the Mudblup King for his own freedom and a truck of jewels).
  • Batman Beyond: In "The Eggbaby", Terry contends with a family of thieves, Ma Mayhem and her two sons, Carl and Slim, as they commit a series of robberies involving valuable jewels that Ma Mayhem claims were originally hers before her former husband left her and their sons. Ma also claims at one point that she does love her sons, but will often berate and slap them for their stupidity and/or incompetence throughout the episode. Which makes for a somewhat amusing contrast to Terry, and ostensibly Bruce, as Terry was forced to act like a father to the titular Eggbaby for a class assignment (and ultimately proves him to be a pretty good parent at that) that he had to carry with him throughout the entire episode. While Bruce, the stern hardass he can be, not only serves as Terry's father figure and mentor, he will go to incredible lengths to protect Terry, even at the potential cost of his own life.
  • Implied in Ben 10 with Acid Breath when he tries melting Ben (currently as Upgrade), and the hero quips "Didn't your mom ever teach you it's rude to spit?"
    "Who do ya think taught me how in the first place?"
  • In Futurama, Corrupt Corporate Executive Mom is almost always accompanied by her three sons Walt, Larry, and Igner. She's also one hell of an Abusive Parent, constantly slapping her sons for every mistake they make, and treating them more like her personal Evil Minions rather than being her own children most of the time.
  • Get Ace: Hilda and Ned Krinkle. They have a Big Guy, Little Guy thing going on, with Hilda being a little old woman who comes up with evil plans and bosses around her utter nitwit of a son, who serves as Dumb Muscle in their schemes. Despite how much she berates and slaps Ned around, everything she does is ultimately for his sake, as she wants the protagonist's high-tech gadget braces to turn her son from a "super-disappointment" into a supervillain.
  • Space Goofs: The episode "Short Changed" has a robber duo composed of a man and his grandmother, who have the usual vitriolic relationship this trope entails.