Everybody Hates Hades

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Left: Hades, from Classical Mythology. Animal Lover. Right: Hades, from Disney's |Hercules. Obviously Evil.

"Oh and you think I enjoy this? I'm sick and tired of always being the bad guy! What I do has to be done!"

Death, Family Guy

Oh, c'mon, what's wrong with Hades? He's a pretty nice guy. Not his fault he drew the lot of being god of the dead... why is Hades always so evil in media? Why?

Death is scary. We fear death because we simply do not know what will happen to us once it inevitably comes a knockin'.

So, by default, anything associated with death can't be good, right? And since Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, a god who brings death must be an evil one, right?

Well, not always.

Many religions throughout history have produced deities who rule over and/or represent some aspect of death and are not portrayed as being malicious. They're not evil, they're just doing their job. Those dead souls won't collect themselves.

Of course, that doesn't stop some modern writers from looking upon these otherwise benign beings and seeing nothing but an easy villain for their mythology based opus. After all, who cares about accuracy? Viewers are Morons after all, and most people see death as something to loathe and fear anyway, so half the work is already done! And then there is the whole Satan analogue...

It's also quite possible that they simply Did Not Do the Research. Or were limited by time constraints and had to do something with what they had on the fly... or They Just Didn't Care.

To put it simply, this trope is invoked whenever an author takes an otherwise benign or at least neutral death-related deity and makes them evil for whatever reason.

A Sub-Trope of Sadly Mythtaken and a form of Adaptational Villainy. Compare with Hijacked by Jesus, when the similarities with Christianity are painfully obvious. Contrast with Don't Fear the Reaper. See Historical Villain Upgrade for when this is applied to historical rather than mythological figures. See also The Theme Park Version and occasionally Mythology Upgrade.

Named after the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades, who is often a victim of this in modern times.[1] In the original Hercules myth, Hera (Zeus's wife) was the antagonist, because Hercules was the product of Zeus's... um... "extra-marital activities". Poor Hades had nothing to do with the operation. |But that just wouldn't set well with Disney's lovely-lovely family image now, would it? Much easier to make the creepy death dude the bad guy.

Examples of Everybody Hates Hades include:

Anime and Manga

  • Both Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-hen involve Greek Mythology, and Hades is the villain. In Shin, Mazinger Z Rocket Punches him in the face. Zeus does like-wise with his severed arm.
  • Hades is a major antagonist in the Saint Seiya anime/manga series. His "evil" is apparently off the charts.
  • 'Astro Boy: Pluto, of pretty much every incarnation, including one where he's the title character.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Anubis got the Generic Doomsday Villain treatment in the movie. Of course, the film was written by the 4KidsEntertainment adapters; knowing them, they probably missed how in the original material, Shadi's fealty was to Anubis. Granted that Shadi can easily signify Good Is Not Nice, but he's still not a creature of malice, so his divine liege probably isn't either. Instead, the writers should have considered Set (the closest thing the Kemetians had to an evil god, at least after the Hykso invasion).
    • Technically though, the Anubis of the movie was an ancient Egyptian Evil Sorcerer who fashioned his title after the god.
  • Dragonball Z: Inverted by Mr. Satan ("Hercule" in the English dub.) The creators seem to have thought that Satan was a good name for a goofy Anti-Hero. Of course, the usual Western interpretation of him is traditionally less kind (at least usually).
    • Fun fact: Hercule was a name originally given to Mr. Satan by the french anime translation (Hercule is Hercules in french, amusingly enough), but it wasn't due to Bowdlerisation; rather, the name Satan was already taken, as they'd given it to Piccolo from his Big Bad days (when he was known as the "Great Demon King").

Comic Books

  • Of all the places this trope could be averted it had to be on a Disney comic. Yes, the same company that forever cursed Hades as evil in media. In a European Disney comic, Hades appears as a somewhat goofy and sympathetic character, whose relationship with Persephone has met a problematic stage and as a consequence the summer had extended and caused a global warming. Fortunately, Donald and his nephews fix their relationship and everything gets back to normal. In this comic Hades is also not portrayed as the demon like being he was on Disney's |Hercules, but rather as one of the dog faced people that fill the Disney comics.
    • So Hades resembled...Pluto?
  • Played dreadfully straight by the Marvel Universe version of Hades, who's referred to by his Roman name of Pluto. Pluto has earned the enmity of both The Incredible Hercules and The Mighty Thor, and has been shown as trying to overthrow Zeus and seize control of the Greek pantheon for himself.
    • This is also the case of Hela, the Norse goddess of the dead (well, the dead who didn't die in heroic battle, anyway). Sometimes it is justified, as she on occasions took the role of a villain and tried to take over Valhalla (the Norse equivalent of heaven), but it still doesn't justify the hatred she gets when she only tries to care for the souls under her charge.
  • Other Marvel characters subvert this. The Marvel universe contains the embodiment of Death, who is often depicted as True Neutral—she takes all life, good or bad (as she told Danielle Moonstar the Valkyrie, who said "you cause pain!" -- "and end it."), though has ordered the deaths of billions just to take back the balance. Hela (The Norse goddess of the Dead) is more or less neutral as well, though she leant towards evil back in the day, and selfishly punished Thor several times for perceived slights; however, its her fathr Loki who is the actual Asgardian God of Evil, and they don't get along at all. There are also other "reapers" in the MU that aren't really evil, like Doorman from the Great Lakes Avengers.
  • The Sandman averts this, with a Perky Goth Death who is arguably Neutral Good (or a sunny True Neutral at worst). She used to be a lot more grim, but now that she spends one day per century as a mortal, she seems rather fond of people. However, she shares a universe (tenuously, anyway) with Nekron, who plays this trope straight. Debate still rages on which is the "true" Death.
    • Word of God is that both of them are the "true" death, along with the Black Racer and possibly others. They all just represent different aspects of death, created based on the different expectations and perceptions of sentient races and individuals of what death is like. Perky Goth Death is thus Death as a Peaceful End; the True Neutral Black Racer is Death as Inevitable. Nekron is thus a Justified Trope as he merely serves the purpose of being Death as the Ultimate Enemy.
      • Except that the idea of the The Sandman Death being the "Peaceful End" is not really Word of God, it was cooked up in one comic and then utterly denied elsewhere. A more complete view would seem to be thay Death is, well, Death and the others are more specific entities associated with death.
    • Hades himself also shows up in the re-telling of the myth of Orpheus. He is presented as cold and uncaring and probably not a very nice deity, but he isn't directly evil. And in his defense, he had enough sympathy for Orpheus to let him take his dead wife from the Underworld (even if that didn't turn out so well in the end).

Fan Works

  • In the dread My Immortal the "goffic" analogue of Sirius Black uses the nickname Hades. Much like all supposed "good guys", he is at best unsympathetic (not to mention his sadism). Given that the "goffs" are satanists, it pretty much implies that Hades is satanic. Of course, many assume the author is either a gigantic Troll or simply retarded beyond reasoning.
  • Hades in the JLA Watchtower universe was first class. Yes, the whole thing was an Evil Plan to get Athena off the throne of Olympus; he believed that, as he was eldest of Chronus and Rhea, he should have been in charge anyway. His tactics during the plan were appalling, however. Mind-wiping and seducing Omen? Blatantly cheating during the Titans' challenge of his heroes versus them? Forcing Nightwing into a fight to the death and making sure Nightwing lost?! Killing Arsenal after the Titans won despite the cheating, then sending in a Zombie Apocalypse as a last resort? Yeah, good thing he got his in the end...
  • Divine Blood inverts this. Hades is the only one of the big three of the Greek gods to not be a Complete Monster.


  • The Disney animated movie |Hercules casts Hades as the villain, probably the most well-known example of this trope. This portrayal, in addition to some of the other liberties taken with the myth, meant that the movie had to be marketed as Beyond the Myth of Heracles in Greece to avoid a national backlash, which... didn't exactly work. However, due to how funny and genuinely likeable Disney Hades is, you probably won't find any viewers (Greek Mythology buffs excepted) who hate Hades, except for being That One Boss in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Drive Angry has an excellent subversion. There's a Satanist cult behind most of the film's events, and the Accountant encounters one of them left alive after the heroe's rampage through their 'church.' The Accountant makes it clear that, from his personal interactions with Satan, he's a well-read and rather pleasant guy. He made a foolish mistake eons ago, and has spent the entire time since then stuck as the warden to the worst prison in the universe. And what really ticks him off is having to watch people on Earth commit atrocities and claim that he had a hand in them.
  • The Princess and the Frog has the evil Hollywood Voodoo doctor Facilier sell his soul to a group of evil spirits referred to as his "friends on the other side". No actual Loa are named (and blasphemed), but it's far from a balanced portrayal of any vodou entity. Though it might count as a slightly exaggerated portrayal of petro ghede.
    • Although they also have Mama Odie, a good voodoo priestess. She also has a pet snake named Juju, which would be considered good in voodoo even as it defies the usual Reptiles Are Abhorrent rule of Disney films (twice even, as the alligator character is also unambiguously a good guy).
  • Fantasia: Chernabog was a black god, but wasn't evil as a pre-christian slavic deity. Subverted as Walt said he was meant to be Satan anyway, just like he was demonized after the spread of Christianity. Though we don't really know enough about Chernobog to say whether he was or wasn't evil, it's certain he wasn't a giant Satanic figure who called up the spirits of the damned. Then again, Disney pulled the name Chernabog right out of their ass because the Satan figure in the film caused so much controversy. Yeesh.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom states Kali to be "The Goddess Of Death" and shows her followers acting like satanic cultists. The Hindu God Of Death is actually Yama, but Kali and her consort Shiva are also associated with death and change. Though she has violent qualities, particularly in her battle against Raktavija, Kali is considered a benevolent goddess by mainstream Hinduism. The villains of the film, however, are (very loosely) based on Thuggee cults, who did place Kali as their patron goddess.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Kali is the "the goddess of death" in one scene, though this may have been an example of the trope being played with, as Mina suggests that by worshipping a goddess of destruction (or, incorrectly, of death) that Nemo is untrustworthy and possibly evil. However, a Victorian educated woman would have had little understanding of Hindu deities, and the whole scene basically served to illustrate that the team misunderstood and distrusted each other.
  • The Movie of Percy Jackson and The Olympians threw out the book's original plot (which actually had Hades played right) and instead slapped together some tripe about Hades being the Big Bad. They even made him look demonic, complete with flames.
    • Except he wasn't actually the villain, that was a colossal red herring. Turns out it's a bitter Persephone.
  • The plot of the Clash of the Titans remake revolves around Perseus fighting against Hades to get his love back, which has nothing to do with the original myth or movie. To be fair, Hades isn't the only god with a Jerkass streak in the film, nor was he attempting to summon a "hell on earth" as the trailers suggested.
  • The Mummy Returns: Anubis receives similar treatment, being responsible for providing a murderous army of jackal-headed warriors to the Scorpion King in exchange for his soul. Considering Anubis was a chiefly neutral deity whose main job was to guide and protect the dead, this seemed rather contrary to his purpose.
    • This is made stranger by the fact that Anubis aided the hero's in the first first film by making Imhotep mortal when summoned. He actually does this again during The Mummy Returns when he evens the playing field for the final showdown. It seems the film makers were aware of his actual role in mythology, alluded to it and then ignored it when it suited the plot.
      • Pretty egregious since Egyptian mythology has Set, a god of destruction who would have suited the role much better, but for some reasons the film makers didn't think about using him. Maybe because they thought jackals looked cooler than whatever the hell kind of animal Set is supposed to be.
  • Live and Let Die depicts Baron Samedi as the Voodoo equivalent of Satan, with the workers at the plantation convinced that they're literally in hell serving as zombies. The actual Voodoo Samedi is known mostly as a womanizer who makes sure the dead rot so they can't be turned into zombies.


  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians: Hades is the prime suspect of the theft of the master bolt in order to overthrow the gods. It turns out to be a subversion. It's not him; he thinks it was Percy and only wants the bolt so he can return it, along with his stolen helmet. The real thief? Ares, being manipulated by Luke, being manipulated by Kronos. Humorously, this version of Hades mentions on his profile page on the official Percy Jackson site that Disney's Hercules is one of his favorite films. He even claims to like being portrayed as the bad guy for the movie; his only gripe was the blue flaming hair. (It's of course possible he's being sarcastic.)
  • Averted by Lord Dunsany in The Gods of Pegana. Mung, the god of death, is an implacable force of nature who is genuinely perplexed at the way people fear him. He asks one man, "Were the forty million years before thy coming intolerable to thee? Not less tolerable to thee shall be the forty million years to come!"
  • Utterly averted by the Myth-O-Mania books, in which Hades is the main character and portrayed as decent, sensible, and one of the smartest gods, choosing the Underworld as a way to avoid Zeus, who is a colossal Small Name, Big Ego Jerkass who takes credit for everything and became King of the Gods by cheating at cards.
  • Watership Down: The Black Rabbit of Inlé somewhat illustrates this trope: he is not actively malevolent, being pretty much neutral and a servant of the rabbit analogue of God (who incidentally happens to be good), but nobody likes him because of his job as an entity responsible for death.
  • In Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain the Big Bad is Lord Arawn whose goal is to take over the world. The books are based on Welsh mythology, in which Arawn isn't that bad a guy. However, this is still an aversion of Did Not Do the Research, as Alexander does note this change in character in his introduction...he just decided to make Arawn the villain anyway.
  • Averted in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, in which Anubis ("Mr. Jacquel") is among the more pleasant and helpful deities that Shadow encounters, and works alongside Thoth ("Mr. Ibis") as a small-town funeral director. In an inversion, Czernobog is depicted as a Boisterous Bruiser who is a little hardcore, but not that bad.
    • Played a little straighter with another death-associated god, Odin, aka Mr. Wednesday, who's a genuine scheming bastard and one of the main villains, along with his friend Loki Liesmith.
  • Averted in the Dark Hunter book "Acheron". Hades seems to be one of the few gods who pities Acheron and leaves him be when Acheron dies and appears in the Underworld.
  • Averted by Piers Anthony in On A Pale Horse, in which Death/Thanatos is not only a human being tapped to fulfill a necessary duty, but is actually the protagonist and one of the nicest characters in the Incarnations series.
  • The Silmarillion: Played around with with Mandos. While he's completely in line with the will of Eru Iluvatar (like the rest of the Valar), he tends to be a little harsh regarding the interpretation, something of a "devil's advocate".
    • Basically, Mandos is a fairly standard "grim, gloomy, fatalistic, but not that bad of a sort" death god, and is portrayed as being without mercy but also without malice. Morgoth, Middle-earth's actual God of Evil, is also associated with death, but he's more accurately the god of the fear of death (among other things), rather than death itself. Indeed, natural death is called the "Gift of Men" and is supposed to be a blessing—as the Elves would tell you immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • In Mort when Death is testing out the pleasures of being human, he allows himself to get drunk at which point he starts drunkenly moping about how everyone hates him and he has no friends. Death is portrayed as being incredibly lonely.
  • Averted in "A Tangled Web", a short story set in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey. Hades is simply in love with Persephone, who loves him right back, and when Brunhilde is kidnapped instead of Persephone, he does his best to make her comfortable and help her get back to Leopold. He also helps devise the tests (with Hecate, also portrayed in a more positive light than usual) to get Leopold the immortality that Brunhilde has requested as her reward/compensation for everything that went down in Hades' realm.
  • Averted in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe. One of her protagonists, Beka, even works for the Black God on occasion, and it is mentioned several time that he is actually more merciful and honest than the gods of life.
    • The Graveyard Hag, a death goddess in Carthak, is also fairly helpful to Daine in Emperor Mage, though she's still a fairly creepy goddess.
      • She is the Black God's daughter.
  • Deconstructed in Flavia Bujor's The Prophecy of the Stones where Death, who is actually quite lovely, gets tired of being hated and quits. We are told this is not the first time it has happened.
  • Subverted in the Shadowmarch series; the god Kernios is a pretty blatant counterpart to Hades (he's a god of death, darkness, and the underworld, and his brothers are a sky god and a sea god to boot) and it's heavily hinted throughout the books that he's the mysterious supernatural entity who is manipulating the mortal villains. Nope- Kernios is in hibernation and has been for milennia. The Big Bad is Zosim the trickster god, who'd been impersonating him.
  • Averted in The Goddess Test series; Hades (known as Henry) is neutral and hardworking as the god of the dead, and Persephone was initially his willing wife. In the series, Hera is the antagonist, not Hades. While the series twists some mythological details, it is a case of Artistic License rather than Did Not Do the Research, and the differences are acknowledged and addressed by the characters.
  • The last book of the Dreamland Chronicles trilogy subverts this, Hades is pretty much the only decent god. While the rest of the pantheons are preparing for an interfaith war, Hades is trying to get back his rightful throne from a usurper who has upset the balance of life and death. He deals fairly and honestly with the heroes to get their help.

Live Action TV

  • Rome: An enraged Lucius Vorenus shouts, "I am a son of Hades!" The line works on modern audiences because it sounds like he's calling himself the son of Satan, ie a horrible, monstrous person. However, the line also works from a Roman perspective, since Hades/Pluto/Dis is a rather grim god, and screaming that you're his son would make you sound like a lunatic with a death wish.
    • Though Pluto/Hades wasn't an evil deity per se, but invoking his name was an extreme taboo, only done when swearing an unbreakable oath. Vorenus basically declares himself utterly relentless and merciless, as well as desperate enough to call upon the Stygian deity.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess: Completely averted. Hades is one of the nicest gods in the pantheon, and except for that one early bit with Persephone, tries to help out his nephew when he shows up to turn those revolving doors. It's just, well, there are rules to follow. They also show that the underworld is not the equivalent of the Christian Hell. Yes, souls are being tortured, but if they truly repent, then they will be sent to the Elysian Fields instead, which is their version of Paradise. This is shown to happen to Iolaus' father, whose soul admits to his son that he was wrong in focusing on his military career instead of his family. Hades, who is present, immediately offers to transfer him to the Elysian Fields.
  • Charmed never used Hades (except for a rather dishonorable mention as the father of the demon Nikos in a tie-in novel), but Hecate, another underworld god(dess), came off particularly badly, being turned into a demon. (Way to go, have witches fight the matron of witches.) Yama also got this treatment, becoming the totally amoral gatekeeper of Chinese hell who tried to snatch whatever spirits were not "properly buried" and drag them to hell, regardless of whether they were good or evil. The Angel of Death on the other hand, is portrayed more or less sympathetically, especially during his first appearance. He does his job in ensuring that everyone dies at the appropriate time. If somebody who must die does not, it will cause the natural flow of death to halt and put the entire world in chaos.
  • Stargate SG-1: Though none of them are actually the gods they've adopted the personae of, Anubis of the Goa'uld is considered the most evil of the bunch.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Mostly averted with Osiris. Sure, resurrecting Buffy involved a dark, creepy ritual involving baby deer's blood and vomiting up snakes, but Osiris himself doesn't seem like such a bad guy in his brief on-screen appearance. Just a bit of a stickler for rules.
    • Also averted with Hecate who is portrayed favorably in this show as the patron deity of witches.
  • Smallville, on the other hand, did an episode where Lois got possessed by Isis and tried to bring Osiris back into the world—which, despite him being the just ruler of the dead, was treated as a very bad thing.
    • Although it wasn't a very bad thing because Osiris himself was bad, it was a very bad thing bercause calling him up would bring the Underworld into the real world.
  • The Twilight Zone played this straight and subverted it, depending on the episode. If it was death personified, he was usually nice and just wanted to help people move on but was feared. When someone made a Deal with the Devil, he was usually trying to create an ironic fate with an overconfident person.
  • Averted in the manual of Caprica and Battlestar Galactica: Hades is a heroic figure to the Colonials and the capital of Canceron is named after him.
  • In the Greek Myths spin-off of The Storyteller, Hades is presented as a bitter being.
  • In the television version of The Nine Lives of Chloe King the Jackals are a rival race to the Mai and are the children of Anubis just as the Mai are the children of Bast. They are described as mindless killing machines who reek of rotting flesh. On the other hand this description is given by the Mai and should be taken with a grain of salt. When actually encountered the Jackals are nasty but not as one dimensionally as described and there's at least one sympathetically portrayed one.
  • Death on Supernatural is notable in that, among the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he's the only one who's not outright evil. In fact, he's not a bad guy at all, leaning close to True Neutral than anything, and has willingly helped the Winchesters on three separate occasions so far.
    • Osiris comes closer to this trope, being pretty much a Jerkass.


  • While Disney did go a bit over the top, Hades was not a favorite god of the Greeks, who didn't even like to say his name and would avert their eyes when sacrificing to him. He was said to "enrich himself with our sighs and our tears" by Sophocles. In Homer's Iliad, Agamemnon described him saying "Hades who is utterly unyielding--and hence he is, of all gods, the one most hateful to mankind." While he was not considered out-and-out evil, being a death god put the kibosh on his ever getting that popular.
    • But Hades couldn't have been hated that much his wife was goddess of springtime and flowers plus Hades was god of Precious metals meaning both of them must've been worshiped a lot.
    • Hell, Disney didn't exactly start making him outright evil - you can really blame Medieval Christians for their common practice of demonizing pagan deities. Hades had his name lent to Hell, while aspects of Pan were put into the Devil himself.
      • Some other common "demons", such as Baal, Dagon and Beelzebub, were demonizations of Semitic deities. Beelzebub and Ba'al were both corruptions of the same god, in fact! Dagon's demonization is a fair bit more recent, and comes from the pen of H.P. Lovecraft, who made him into one of the Eldritch Abominations of the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Egyptian mythology presents two good examples in the form of Seth, god of the desert. The portrayal of Seth as a demonic figure was actually a political response to the unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms. As the Upper Kingdom, represented by Seth, resisted the union their patron's name was smeared and his darker aspects were emphasized in later myths; this is what inspired modern depictions. However, while Seth was jealous of his brother Horus' position and a harbinger of doom with no love for humans, he would help the other gods and play a key role in defeating Apophis, the actual devil-equivalent. This makes him one of the earliest mythological Anti-Heroes.
    • Anubis, god of the afterlife, has also gotten the Villain Ball more often in the recent years. Considering his position as a neutral entity interested only in ensuring proper administration of the deceased, this is completely out of character.
    • Some mythologists actually theorize that Loki, the default Big Bad of Norse Mythology, got hit with this as soon as Vikings started embracing Christianity - unfortunately, this was around the same time the Vikings started writing down their mythology.
      • His daughter Hel, who is actually the goddess of death, was probably victim of this. Older myths tend to depict her as a serene guide to the other world for departed souls who had died from natural cause. Demonization of pagan deities by the Christians made her an hideous hag preparing an army of the dead for her father. And, similarly to Hades, can you guess where the word Hell comes from?

Professional Wrestling

  • Hades wears lots of intimidating spikes and routinely blows out fire but is usually a Face on the US Indy scene. His opponents usually try to convince cheering audiences that he's Obviously Evil to no avail.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The splatbook Deities & Demigods lists Hades as Neutral Evil largely so they could give him levels in the assassin Prestige Class. The book specifically notes that he isn't actively hostile or vicious, and that he mostly just is; everyone dies eventually, and someone has to run the afterlife. Anubis on the other hand was listed as Lawful Neutral.
    • Nearly every deity of death and/or the underworlds in that book is Lawful Neutral or Neutral Evil (mostly the latter). The big exception is Osiris, who's listed as Lawful Good. In various other books, the deity of death tends to be Lawful Neutral instead, and there tends to be a different underworld for each alignment.
    • On top of this we have the Demon lord Orcus, and the Archdevil Dispater, both Roman names for Hades. Just being neutral evil isn't enough.
      • Orcus is actually the Roman name for Thanatos, but it's pretty much the same anyway.
        • Not so, Thanatos was the Greek god of death, not of the dead, as in Thanatos was the god of the act or action, the moment of death, Hades was the lord of the Underworld, where the dead stayed after their lives ended.
  • Scion: Utterly averted—Hades is presented as he is in the myths - probably the only level-headed person in the Dodekatheon. Aside from mild tendencies towards greed and irritation at being a "dwarf planet", he's an all right guy. On the other hand, Miclantehcuhtli of the Atzlanti is portrayed as being evil in a spiteful, petty bureaucrat sort of way; Hel of the Norse Aesir is cold, cruel and unfeeling, and the Ragnarok supplement mocks players who want to make her happy through the power of true love (although it does leave open the possibility); and Izanami of the Amatsukami torments other gods and Scions for being unable to save her from her tortured and rotten state as ruler of the Japanese underworld. All of these are pretty close to their respective myths, no less. White Wolf likes to do the research.
  • The Fighting Fantasy universe has Death as the ultimate God of Evil, with his brothers Disease and Decay just a step behind him in power.
  • The Freedom City setting for Mutants and Masterminds has Hades as a criminal mastermind trying to extend his reach on Earth, complete with an invasion by the forces of Tartarus back in the Silver Age. For bonus point, Baron Samedi is also a douchenozzle in-setting, though that may have something to do with his choice of mount.
  • Palladium's Rifts is particularly bad about this. Here's a breakdown by pantheon:
    • Aztec: Predictably, the cultural Values Dissonance wreaks havoc. With the exception of Quetzalcoatl and his pal/sidekick Xolotl, the entire pantheon is made up of Complete Monsters and a few gods who feel they don't have a choice in following them. Mictlan, the lord of the dead (well, it's actually the name of the underworld, but by this point, who cares, right?) deserves special mention, as it's the Eldritch Abomination co-ruler of Hades (the place, which is crawling with a bunch of demon races; Hades the god rules another chunk of it) with fellow abomination Modeus.
    • Babylonian: Apsu (an obscure water god mentionned in the Enuma Elish as Tiamat's husband) is a titanic, even-more-overpowered-than-usual Cosmic Horror sealed just prior to the gods' rebellion; Ereshkigal (goddess of the dead) and her husband Nergal (god of the sun and destruction; both rule over the underworld) are secretly but gleefully on Apsu and Tiamat's side and wait for the moment when they can rejoin them and destroy th rest of the pantheon.
    • Egyptian: Anubis is The Dragon within the Pantheon of Taut (the "evil" half of the pantheon, led of course by Set), who for lack of other evil forces besides Apep/Apophis had to be filled with other rather ridiculous choices such as Anhur (who's there mostly because of Honor Before Reason), Bes (who supposedly became an evil psycho sometime in the past), and Amon (who's now a woman who became evil and ugly pretty much "just because").
    • Greek: Ironically, Hades gets off the easiest, coming off mostly as a Jerkass Knight Templar; Ares is a bullying jerk, but that's pretty much the same as in actual myth. Hera is basically a Soap Opera-style Queen Bitch who's finally gone insane from Zeus' philandering, and is actively fomenting strife between Olympus and other pantheons, as well as thinking about freeing the Titans. The Titans themselves are either Eldritch or Humanoid Abominations - Cronos is a black blob of eyes and tentacles who created the first olympian gods as edible power batteries, and Hecate, while more or less human in appearance, is a ruthless power-hungry pragmatist who's mercenary enough to deal with the Splugorth (a species of eldritch abominations whose hat is being Corrupt Corporate Executive imperialistic slave-traders).
    • Norse: Mostly untouched (Loki's a bad guy, of course), but Hel (goddess of the dishonorable dead)'s bad side is turned Up to Eleven: She's an Ax Crazy Omnicidal Maniac who wants to ally herself with the Mechanoids (think Daleks Lite) to exterminate all humanoid life in The Multiverse.
    • Hindu: Of course, Kali gets the full treatment (Ax Crazy Blood Knight who betrayed the pantheon to the aforementionned Splugorth For the Evulz), but then so does Yama, god of death (psychopathic, sadistic Omnicidal Maniac; notice a pattern yet?). Even Varuna is a bitter Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who'll stoop to any level to get back his former power.
    • Maya: Barely touched upon, but all we see (the lords of the underworld of Xibalba and bat-god Camazotz) are basically demon lords.
    • And then there's a bunch of pretenders and impostors passing themselves for existing legitimate gods, usually for less-than-virtuous reasons, many of whom are actually Eldritch Abominations (notice another pattern?)


  • Subverted in Stephen Sondheim's The Frogs. Listen for yourself.
  • The main antagonist of Once On This Island is Papa Ge, a Vodou Loa associated with death whom the actual lore seems to portray as a pretty decent guy (at least as far as The Other Wiki can be trusted on the subject).
    • Even in the play's storyline, this trope is played with- Papa Ge is implied to just do his job and isn't entirely evil. He even hangs out with the three other gods like good friends.

And Papa Ge was gentle, as he carried her to shore...

    • Especially when you consider that the main plot boils down to a bet over whether love or death is more powerful, and Papa Ge doesn't really do anything besides offer the main character the option of choosing death. Add to that the fact that it's somewhat implied in some productions that Erzulie, the goddess of love, more or less used her powers to make Timone (the main character) fall in love with somebody totally unsuitable (an affair that can only logically end in pain for somebody), plus the other gods general manipulation (which boils down to "it's fun to play with humans") and you get a case of all four being Jerkass Gods at worst and operating under Blue and Orange Morality at best.
  • In Hadestown, Hades is depicted as a welfare capitalist, with all the false promises (to the dead in general, and Eurydice in particular) that entails.

Video Games

  • In Castlevania, Death is Dracula's Right Hand Man. And while Hades is not present in this series, his wife Persephone is a villainous Ninja Maid.
  • Subverted in the God of War series, where Hades is no more evil than the other gods of Olympus despite his demonic appearance. However, it's played straight in the manual, which describes him as "a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects." In the sequels, he is finally motivated to kill Kratos out of revenge for his niece (Athena), brother (Poseidon) and wife (Persephone), thus making his actions at least understandable.
    • The subversion is undone in the PSP title Ghost Of Sparta, where Thanatos, a death god whose existence is said to preempt that of Olympus, is a right bastard, who goes to significant lengths to keep Kratos from finding his brother, and when that fails kills Deimos, and constantly mocks Kratos the entire boss fight. This implies that Hades is not so much the god of death as he is of the afterlife (which was pretty much his actual role in Greek Mythology).
  • In Immortal Throne, the expansion to Titan Quest, Hades is cast as the villain. The reason being that after the connection between the godly realms and earth was severed in the first game and Typhon was destroyed, Zeus decided that the Olympian gods would take this as an opportunity to depart from the world and leave humans to their own affairs as they had proven themselves capable of such. Hades went rogue, formed a demon army, and started to assault the overworld, and it was the lot of the player to put an end to Hades, of whom Zeus had predicted his actions and actually set the player on the right path to deal with him.
  • While Hades can be considered the main antagonist of the myth of Orpheus, it was largely because dead people aren't supposed to come back to life. However, in The Battle of Olympus, he had Orpheus's love interest killed so that he could marry her, justifying the subsequent beating administered by the player.
  • Kingdom Hearts, being based of Disney Animated Canon, also cast Hades as a villain. Oddly enough, he and Captain Hook were the only Disney villains to not fall into darkness. It's worth noting that this version of Hades is more of a Jerkass than anything, his only real reason for joining Maleficent's entourage is to get rid of Hercules, and isn't afraid to admit to her face that he doesn't give a damn about her plans.
  • In the city-building game Zeus, this trope is averted. Basically any Greek God can be built a temple to (sometimes you have to do so just to keep away another one that's pissed off at you), and that includes Hades. In-game he can defeat any god that attacks your city save Zeus and Poseidon, and the game recognizes Hades is more than just the lord of the dead; he's also the god in charge of everything within the earth itself, including mineral wealth, an often-overlooked aspect in modern times. In this game, he rewards you with infinite silver veins that spawn around his temple and occasionally grants you the blessing of additional cash. He also lets his pet Cerberus guard your city as a bonus.
    • That's not to say he would always be a good guy. Depending on your city's interaction with the immortals, Hades could very well end up sending Cerberus to attack you, or even pay you a visit himself. If he visits not only does he shut down your metal-working industry, he also takes a substantial chunk of your population back to the Underworld with him.
  • In pretty much all of the Might and Magic games, whenever your party dies, you get a chilling but well-intentioned speech from Death itself, who chides you that your time in the land of the living is not done, and sends you back... but not before warning you that "... but I am quite sure that we will meet again."
  • Battlezone 1998 (the 1998 game, not the 1980s classic) implies that the mythical Hades was inspired by an evil, violent faction of Ancient Astronauts.
  • Izanami is revealed to be a villain in Persona 4. Somewhat appropriate in that she is kind of a villain in Shinto myth.
  • Meanwhile, Persona 3 has a rather interesting take on the trope. While Death is responsible for causing The End of the World as We Know It, it's not actually a malevolent being, as seen with Pharos and Ryoji. Nyx will only initiate the Fall as long as people keep wishing for death.
    • And even then s/he doesn't want to. S/he was content with sleeping away until a bunch of Death Seekers in the Kirijo Group wanted to end the world. Only the Heroic Sacrifice of Yukari's father and the Main Character buys enough time for humanity to get its shit together.
    • Flat-out averted in Persona 2 - Hades is the Ultimate Persona of one of the characters.
  • Played with in Age of Mythology. While some of the villains will choose to worship him early in the campaign, Hades himself never shows up. Also the real villains are Poseidon, who actually did try to overthrow Zeus in the myths, and Kronos.
  • Kid Icarus has Pluton, an invincible and incredibly annoying ogre thief, whose name is the original Greek spelling for Pluto (Ploutōn). The Grim Reaper(shortened to Reaper) and the God of Revenge are also enemies.
    • The first may come from Pluto's other portfolio, being the god of wealth. This doesn't make the game's butchering of the rest of Greek mythology any more sensible, though.
    • In Kid Icarus Uprising, Hades makes his debut as the true leader of the Underworld Army. Thanatos, the actual god of Death, shows up as well, but Hades manages to both outrank and out-evil Thanatos. His only motivation for anything he does in the game is to cause death and destruction to expand his realm.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor has Yama, Buddhist judge of the underworld, making a contract with one of the people inside the Tokyo Lockdown. He reveals himself to be a Hanging Judge to whom All Crimes Are Equal (and death being the only sentence). To be fair, though, we only see him interact with people guilty of crimes like murder, abuse of authority and similar—he ignores the party, who are not guilty of anything, until you attack him.
  • King's Quest: Both Samhain in King's Quest VI and Lord Azriel in King's Quest Mask of Eternity avert this Trope. They are quite helpful once the heroes are able to prove themselves worthy of their assistance.
  • An in-universe example actually happens in Pokémon: While Darkrai is normally portrayed as a rather decent creature despite having a bad reputation due to it's tendency to create nightmares (it only does this if threatened in any way, the anime actually averted this by making one such member of this species the hero of one of its films), in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers games, he's the Big Bad, and is pure evil. He even tries to kill the main characters over the course of the games!
  • The Atari game Riddle of the Sphinx featured Anubis as the main enemy. You know, Anubis, the kindly, jackal headed god of the newly dead who just wants to get you to the Land of the Dead safely. It's made even more glaring given the fact that Egyptian Mythology already had a sort of Satan figure in Set, the fratricidal got of the Underworld.
  • Averted in Super Paper Mario. The Queen of The Underwhere, Jaydes, isn't hated, she is even married to Grambi, King of The Overthere.
  • The unlicensed NES game Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu had the god Shiva as its Big Bad.
  • It seems that the Valkyrie Profile verse doesn't like Hel. She's the unseen Big Bad in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume.
  • Averted with online game Poptropica: On one of the islands, Zeus is the Big Bad, trying to conquer all of Poptropica and Hades is very helpful, giving you one of the items necessary to beat the island. The underworld is certainly not a pretty place though.
  • In Too Human, a Cyberpunk adaptation of Norse Mythology, Hel is a Mad Scientist who cybernetically reanimates the corpses of the dishonored dead that she is entrusted with as cannon fodder, including Baldur's beloved wife, and is loyal to her father Loki.
  • HADES from Horizon Zero Dawn seems to be a clear-cut example at first, since he's an evil AI with a hellishly deep voice who leads a cult of lunatics dedicated to awakening machines that could wipe out all organic life on Earth, and named after the Greek god of death to boot. But it's revealed later that he isn't malicious, just malfunctioning: as a subordinate function of the AI GAIA his task was originally to destroy failed biospheres if GAIA wasn't able to recreate them right. Thanks to the interference of an unknown, malicious third party, he's simply following his programming in the wrong context.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Largely averted in the Whateley Universe: Stygian, who apparently is the incarnation of the god Hades, isn't a bad guy. He's just so depressed that he's willing to do pretty much anything if it will kill him. Hekate, on the other hand, is a mutant who really earns her rep as ruthlessly evil.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in the Wonder Woman animated film. Hades looks like he's agreeing to free Ares so the restored god of war can kill, well, everyone, on Earth and provide Hades with their souls, but it turns out there's only one soul Hades is really interested in, revealed when his Evil Plan comes to fruition.
    • His evilness is up for debate. Sure he was a bit of a dick but he did put one of the worst psychopaths ever on a permanent lockdown and well... Ares and his son deserved it.
    • Though he is a bit of a Jerkass all the same.
  • Played straight in Justice League, where Hades might as well be Satan, and is possibly Wonder Woman's father.
  • Mighty Max had an episode where a snake monster is trying to summon Kali, but she's only evil under his mind control. Once Max snaps her out of it (using an idol of Shiva, another Dark Is Not Evil god, she deals with the snake monster for them and leaves.
    • Another episode, "The Mummy's Hand," does this to the entire Egyptian pantheon.
  • In the movie Hercules, Hades was the Big Bad, despite Hera being the one who tried to kill Hercules in the original myths. Unrelatedly, all of the characters except Hercules are referred to by their original Greek names... except "Bacchus" and "Cupid" if you count the Animated Series but that's neither here nor there.
  • Disney's done this trope waaaaaay back in the past: the 1934 Silly Symphony The Goddess of Spring is a retelling of the Persephone myth, and Hades looks like a proper Mephistophelean stage devil. You can watch it here for now.
  • Subverted in the TV series Class of the Titans. While Hades is kind of...swishy, he still is a pretty decent guy who is in a loving relationship with Persephone.
    • Thanatos (who is basically, the Greek god of death), Hades's subordinate, is sometimes used as a villain, but on these occasions he usually turns out to be mind-controlled by Kronos. He is otherwise a kindly bespectacled old man - who can transform into a boney horror with wings. He is pretty neutral towards the heroes, but does seem to enjoy his job too much...
  • Averted in Gargoyles with Anubis (voiced by Tony Jay), who turns out to not be a bad guy. He just is there to maintain balance in the world. The episode "Grief" deals with the Emir trying to force Anubis to resurrect his dead son.
  • Averted in the Sunbow G.I. Joe episode "The Gods Below". Osiris, the Egyptian God of Death, and the other Egyptian gods that appear, for the most part, are portrayed as good or at least neutral. The only exception is Set who's kind of already an evil god in Egyptian mythology, depending on which period of Egyptian history any given myth comes from.
  • Played straight in Mummies Alive, in which Anubis is a dim-witted villain who works alongside Set. In mythology, Set disowned him, since Anubis chose to side with Horus and helped Isis mummify Osiris and restore him.
  • The Watership Down animated series pulls this with the Black Rabbit of Inle. When he starts appearing in season three, he glows red and gets vanishes in a burst of flames.


  1. Probably the worst thing Hades did is kidnap his niece and maker her his wife. The tale of which is normally called "The Rape of Persephone". He did this with the approval of his brother Zeus, who among other things was the god of justice and a serial rapist. So while not a paragon of virtue by todays standards, if you use most other greek gods as a baseline, he was a pretty nice dude.