Dark Lord

In fiction, Dark Lord (or Evil Overlord) is often used to refer to a powerful villain or antagonist with evil henchmen. In particular, it is used as a moniker in fictional worlds where it is thought that pronouncing the villain's real name will bring bad luck or represents a bad omen. Such a villain usually seeks to rule or destroy the people around them (such as Voldemort in Harry Potter, Sauron in Lord of the Rings etc)

Melkor and Sauron
Depiction of the Dark Lord Morgoth (left) and Sauron (right)

In religion

In a religious context, Dark Lord usually means Satan or other similar entities who hold power over lesser fiendish creatures and seek to disrupt the comfort and lives of people.

In fiction


In fantasy novels, Dark Lords have become something of a cliché stemming from the success of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, in which the main antagonist, Sauron, is often referred to as the "Dark Lord". On occasion, the people of Gondor in Middle-earth refer to Sauron as "The Enemy" or "The Nameless Enemy" despite knowing his real name; arguably starting the practice of avoiding pronouncing a Dark Lord's actual name. In fact the name Sauron, meaning the Abhorred, itself is already a mockery of his actual name given him by his enemies, with his original name being Mairon, the Admirable. He was known by this name before joining Morgoth's forces, and continued calling himself Mairon. In Tolkien's legendarium, Sauron is the second Dark Lord; he was the lieutenant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth (also a title or epithet meaning "dark enemy"), until the latter's defeat. Morgoth's original name was Melkor (he who arises in might).[1] Following the example of Sauron, Dark Lords in fantasy are always depicted as immensely powerful and implacably evil creatures with a great desire for power. One example of a powerful Dark Lord in the world of literature is the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, earning his place as a Dark Lord having surpassed the magical abilities of any other dark wizard before him, thus he is considered not a Dark Wizard but the first and only Dark Lord within the Harry Potter franchise, being so powerful and evil that his enemies even dreaded to speak his name. Dark Lords have a negative effect in their worlds, throwing them into ruin and despair. Sauron, for example, turned Mordor into a "wasteland where the very air saps one's will". He planned to do the same to all of Middle-earth. Dark Lords have mostly been male, with few exceptions such as the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, who casts the world into an eternal winter but never Christmas.


Dark Lord characters do not often engage in direct conflict with protagonists. They are dark gods, demons or rulers of lands who exist in other dimensions, and/or maintain a dark, inaccessible fortress. They rely on a vast network of minions, often with an extremely hierarchical structure. In Star Wars, "Dark Lord" is a rank achieved by those who become Sith Lords as in the "Dark Lord of the Sith". The most recognized Dark Lords of Star Wars are Darth Sidious, and Darth Vader.


The frequency in which the Dark Lord cliche occurs spawned the Evil Overlord List, a website satirizing the mistakes of Dark Lords and major villains. Frequently, antagonists in fiction will display numerous Dark Lord mannerisms while belonging to another genre of the fictional villain, and some pertain to more than one genre. An example is Davros from Doctor Who, whose position as the creator of the Daleks and later ruler of their empire marks him both as a Dark Lord and a mad scientist.


In comics, villains are usually considered Dark Lords either by the format of the story in which the villain appears or because of the villain’s modus operandi. For example, Ming the Merciless, Thanos and Darkseid are alien despots and could fall under the category of alien invaders. However, they exist within stories of such operatic nature, with elements of swashbuckling adventure and mythological analogy, that they are considered specifically to be Dark Lords. Alternatively, comic book villains The Kingpin and the 1990-era Lex Luthor could be considered modern-day versions of a Dark Lord, but more closely fall under the categories of a crime lord or a mad scientist, respectively. This is mostly due to these characters traditionally seeking a public identity as a businessman or a philanthropist, while keeping their criminal activities secret. This is at odds with one of the hallmarks of a Dark Lord, which is that they act from or deliberately seek out a position of legal authority, albeit often self-appointed, and even their most nefarious deeds are often performed publicly.


A recent example can be found on the television series Once Upon a Time, where the title "The Dark One" identifies someone with prolific magical powers whose life and powers are bound to a dagger bearing their name as an inscription. Whoever possesses the dagger can control the Dark One, but if they kill the Dark One with it, they become the new Dark One themselves. In this series, the first Dark One was Nimue the lover of Merlin. For 1000 years the Dark Ones have terrorized the people of the enchanted forest leading up to the current Dark One, Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold.

Video games

Many fantasy games, as well as some of the science fiction genre, feature a Dark Lord who rules over one faction in the game. While this character is often the antagonist and final boss, some RPGs, such as Dark Souls, allows the player to earn this title for themselves. As this would often make the player character be in-charge of the game's hordes of enemies the moniker is usually granted at one of multiple endings. In order to make sequel games, this is often considered the non-canon ending, as in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, but some games, like Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, use this ending to turn the powered up anti-hero into the series' new antagonist.

Notable examples


  1. ^ The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

Angra Mainyu (; Avestan: 𐬀𐬢𐬭𐬀⸱𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬥𐬌𐬌𐬎 Aŋra Mainiiu) is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman 𐭠𐭧𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩 (Anglicised pronunciation: ). Angra Mainyu is Ahura Mazda’s adversary.

Dark Lord of Derkholm

The Dark Lord of Derkholm, simply Dark Lord of Derkholm in the United States, is a fantasy novel by the British author Diana Wynne Jones, published autumn 1998 in both the U.K. and the U.S. It won the 1999 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature.The novel is a parody, for its setting is a mock high fantasy world, similar to that Jones covered in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (U.K., 1996), a humorous travel guide on the Rough Guide model. The story continues in Year of the Griffin and the two novels have been called the Derkholm series (which ISFDB does not explicitly link to The Tough Guide).

Dave the Barbarian

Dave the Barbarian is an American animated television series created by Doug Langdale for Disney Channel. The show centers on a barbarian named Dave and his friends and family, who go on surreal Medieval-themed adventures. The series premiered on January 23, 2004 and ended on January 22, 2005, with a total of one season and 21 episodes. Reruns aired from January 23, 2005 to December 28, 2009. Reruns have also aired on Toon Disney until February 13, 2009 when the channel shut down.


A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.It is difficult to specify a particular definition of any complexity that will cover all of the traditions, beyond that it is a manifestation of evil. It is meaningful to consider the devil through the lens of each of the cultures and religions that have the devil as part of their mythos.The history of this concept intertwines with theology, mythology, psychiatry, art and literature, maintaining a validity, and developing independently within each of the traditions. It occurs historically in many contexts and cultures, and is given many different names — Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles — and attributes: It is portrayed as blue, black, or red; It is portrayed as having horns on its head, and without horns, and so on. The idea of the devil has been taken seriously often, but not always, for example when devil figures are used in advertising and on candy wrappers.

Fantasy tropes

Fantasy tropes are a specific type of literary tropes that occur in fantasy fiction. Worldbuilding, plot, and characterization have many common conventions. Literary fantasy works operate using these tropes, while others use them in a revisionist manner, making the tropes over for various reasons such as for comic effect, and to create something fresh (a method that often generates new clichés).

Gita Govinda

The Gita Govinda (Sanskrit: गीत गोविन्द) (Song of Govinda) is a work composed by the 12th-century Indian poet, Jayadeva. It describes the relationship between Krishna and the gopis (female cow herders) of Vrindavana, and in particular one gopi named Radha.

The Gita Govinda is organized into twelve chapters. Each chapter is further sub-divided into twenty-four divisions called Prabandhas. The prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called Ashtapadis. It is mentioned that Radha is greater than Krishna. The text also elaborates the eight moods of Heroine, the Ashta Nayika, which has been an inspiration for many compositions and choreographic works in Indian classical dances.


Iblīs (or Eblis) is a figure frequently occurring in the Quran, commonly in relation to the creation of Adam and the command to prostrate himself before him. After he refused, he was cast out of heaven. For many classical scholars, he was an angel, but regarded as a jinn in most contemporary scholarship. Due to his fall from God's grace, he is often compared to Satan in Christian traditions. In Islamic tradition, Iblis is often identified with Al-Shaitan ("the Devil"). However, while Shaitan is used exclusively for an evil force, Iblis himself holds a more ambivalent role in Islamic traditions.

Jamie Thomson (author)

Jamie Thomson is a British writer, editor and game developer, born 14 November 1958 in Iran and winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012.

King Gordy

Waverly Walter Alford III (born August 18, 1977), known professionally by his stage name King Gordy, is an American horrorcore emcee from Detroit, Michigan. He is a current member of underground rap groups the Fat Killahz and Last American Rock Stars. He is currently signed to Twiztid's Majik Ninja Entertainment.

Lord Voldemort

Lord Voldemort (, in the films; born Tom Marvolo Riddle) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in J. K. Rowling's series of Harry Potter novels. Voldemort first appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was released in 1997. Voldemort appears either in person or in flashbacks in each book and its film adaptation in the series, except the third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where he is only mentioned.

Voldemort is the archenemy of Harry Potter, who according to a prophecy has "the power to vanquish the Dark Lord". Nearly every witch or wizard dares not utter his unmentionable name, and refers to him instead with such expressions as "You-Know-Who", "He Who Must Not Be Named" or "the Dark Lord". Voldemort's obsession with blood purity signifies his aim to rid the wizarding world of Muggle (non-magical) heritage and to conquer both worlds, Muggle and wizarding, to achieve pure-blood dominance. Through his mother's family, he is the last descendant of wizard Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is the leader of the Death Eaters, a group of evil wizards and witches dedicated to ridding the Wizarding World of Muggles and establishing Voldemort as its supreme ruler.


In Japanese mythology and fantasy, mazoku (魔族) are supernatural beings, normally evil ones such as devils or demons. A maō (魔王) or maou is a ruler of mazoku, or in fiction more generically a dark lord or powerful monster.


Morgoth Bauglir ([ˈmɔrɡɔθ ˈbau̯ɡlir]; originally Melkor [ˈmɛlkor]) is a character from Tolkien's legendarium. He is the main antagonist of The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin, and is mentioned briefly in The Lord of the Rings.

Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur, but turned to darkness and became Morgoth, the definitive antagonist of Arda from whom all evil in the world of Middle-earth ultimately stems. Sauron, one of the Maiar of Aulë, betrayed his kind and became Morgoth's principal lieutenant.

Ragnarok the Animation

Ragnarok the Animation is a Japanese-Korean anime television series based on the MMORPG Ragnarok Online. The story happens in the same world of Rune-Midgard. An evil entity called the Dark Lord wants to create chaos in the world with the help of seven crystals that represent the seven ambitions (also known as the Seven Strengths) who sealed him away years ago.

It was produced in the first quarter of 2004 and was broadcast on TV Tokyo in Japan. In 2005, it was broadcast on SBS in Korea. It has 26 episodes.

The Philippine and Brazilian distributor of the game, Level Up! Games, Inc., cooperated with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation for local licensing and distribution rights of Ragnarok the Animation. The anime series was first premiered in the Philippines on ABS-CBN on October 11, 2004, airing right before TV Patrol. It was the very first anime that aired on the network's Primetime Bida evening block.

On January 22, 2007, FUNimation Entertainment announced the U.S. license of Ragnarok on the website's Kickoff 07.


Sauron is the title character and main antagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

In the same work, he is identified as the Necromancer, mentioned in Tolkien's earlier novel The Hobbit. In Tolkien's The Silmarillion (published posthumously by Tolkien's son Christopher Tolkien), he is also described as the chief lieutenant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth. Tolkien noted that the Ainur, the "angelic" powers of his constructed myth, "were capable of many degrees of error and failing", but by far the worst was "the absolute Satanic rebellion and evil of Morgoth and his satellite Sauron".


The Sith are major antagonists in the space opera franchise Star Wars. They are depicted as an ancient monastic and kraterocratic organization of supernaturally gifted warriors driven by a machiavellian agenda of galactic domination and revenge against their arch-rivals, the Jedi knights. Prominent Sith Lords such as Darth Vader and Darth Sidious have become pop culture icons of tyranny and terror.

The Sith Order is totalitarian in which a supreme authority is concentrated in a single individual granted the honorific Dark Lord of the Sith. Transfer of power is conducted through state-sanctioned assassinations: when a Sith Lord grows complacent, begins to shows weakness and is eventually killed, their property and authority are transferred to the apprentice who killed them. This kratocracy system ensures that Sith are only governed by those strong enough to seize control.

Sith philosophy lionizes conflict as a catalyst for growth and as a tool for purging the unworthy. Sith viewed restraint as a weakness. Members adhere to master morality, are characterized by the desire to seize power by any means necessary, leveraging force (both physical and supernatural), social maneuvering, and political cunning to their advantage. The Sith cultivate a connection to the dark side of the Force, which provides them with easy access to superhuman power and arcane knowledge; however, the trade-off is the severe cost of adapting a dark triad personality, that corrodes their basic capacity for empathy, kindness and love.

Throughout Star Wars media and in popular culture, the Sith are infamous as the dualistic antagonists to the Jedi, an affiliation of altruistic warriors who strive to use their own martial training and connection to the "Light Side" of the Force to promote peace and the common welfare throughout the galaxy. Over their long history, the Sith have established great empires, come close to realizing their ambitions of galactic conquest, and nearly eradicated the Jedi. Ultimately, however, they are self-defeating, their grand plans undone time and again by internal strife, rebellion inspired by their vicious tactics, and the psychologically noxious effects of their dark arts and philosophy.

Soma Cruz

Soma Cruz, known in Japan as Sōma Kurusu (来須 蒼真, Kurusu Sōma), is a fictional character and the protagonist of Konami's action-adventure games Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, part of Konami's Castlevania video game series. He was designed by Ayami Kojima as part of producer Koji Igarashi's desire to try a "different route" for the Castlevania series. His return in Dawn of Sorrow was due to Igarashi's satisfaction with Soma and the storyline in Aria of Sorrow, and he was redesigned with a new anime appearance.In Aria of Sorrow, Soma is an 18-year-old transfer student studying in Japan (or simply a Japanese high school student, in the Japanese version), where he finds himself in the castle of Dracula, the principal antagonist of the Castlevania series. Soma discovers his "power of dominance," or his ability to claim the souls and abilities of the monsters he defeats as his own. As the game's story progresses, Soma learns of Dracula's demise, and that he is his reincarnation, and destined to become Dracula again (a position Graham Jones desired for himself before he was killed by Soma). The only reason he did not become the next dark lord immediately was due to the efforts of Alucard, using the pseudonym Genya Arikado. Soma eventually defeats the chaos running through the castle, narrowly missing both his own corruption and his possible death at the hands of Julius Belmont. Dawn of Sorrow features Soma fighting the attempts of a cult to slay him and create a new dark lord when one did not surface during the events of Aria of Sorrow.Several video game publications have praised Soma's character. Although Soma himself was viewed as a stereotypical echo of previous Castlevania protagonists, the new context that the storyline Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow provided for him rectified this. The storyline in particular that Soma was situated in was compared to the storyline of the widely acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The switch to an anime character design in Dawn of Sorrow was notably criticized, as many reviewers preferred the designs made by Ayami Kojima.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.