Evil Sorcerer

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Abra Ka-dead!

The Evil Sorcerer is the living (or occasionally undead) proof of the maxim that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

He, or sometimes she, is the mage who has delved too deeply into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and mastered The Dark Arts. He has achieved great power, but at the expense of his soul. He deals in Black Magic and might well have made a Deal with the Devil. Evil Sorcerers are very dangerous foes, as they are creative as well as clever. From them, one can expect anything; hordes of demonic Mooks as the bluntest tool, More Than Mind Control as the subtlest one, and anything between those two and beyond. He will probably be a Sorcerous Overlord, dwelling in an Evil Tower of Ominousness and ruling the land with an iron - but also magical - fist, though he may also show up as an Evil Chancellor, using his powers to subvert the throne more subtly.

The Evil Sorcerer nearly always gets top billing as a villain, as one of his most common traits is Pride. Where he is a second-stringer, he's likely to only be one-upped by a demonic bargain gone wrong—probably because he cheated. This makes him prone to learning the painful lesson that Evil Is Not a Toy. He might also be upstaged by a God of Evil- but then, the most powerful Evil Sorcerers often have ambitions on godhood themselves. In a villainous hierarchy, he'll most likely be the Big Bad, The Dragon, or the Evil Genius (though he could also be The Man Behind the Man or, if he has little loyalty to any particular faction, the Wild Card). Killing the Evil Sorcerer is one way to stop his Keystone Army.

The Evil Sorcerer can be at several levels of the Super Weight scale (depending on how strong magic is in a given setting) but he'll almost always be far more powerful than the heroes (unless they manage to get physical with him), and will probably be at least superficially stronger than his good counterparts (owing to possessing powers that they can't or won't use). If he's an Evil Archmage, everybody should watch out.

It's likely that every sorcerer will be this if Magic Is Evil. Compare the Wicked Witch and (for the more modern descendant) Mad Scientist. An undead Evil Sorcerer will probably be called a Lich.

Examples of Evil Sorcerer include:


Anime and Manga

  • Wagnard from Record of Lodoss War. He starts off as a normal man who's just a little too eager to gain arcane knowledge, but decades of dealing with the forces of darkness eventually turn him into a fiendish figure with pointed ears and claws. The wizard Groder edges on this trope since he ostensibly serves Wagnard, but he's more of a sympathetic Anti-Villain due to his loyalty to Ashram. Two minor characters, the evil cleric Gaberra and dark elf shaman Astar, also fit the bill.
  • Babidi and his late father Bibidi from Dragonball Z
  • The Mage of Beginnings from Mahou Sensei Negima, the resident Big Bad during the days of Nagi's Ala Rubra.
    • In-story, most mages think Evangeline is like this, but those who have actually met her know that she's really not so bad.
  • Precia Testarossa of the original Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who also has Mad Scientist leanings thanks to the Magitek setting.
  • The first movie to Cardcaptor Sakura had Clow Reed's former student Madoushi, particularly in the dub (where she was also his girlfriend at one point).

Comic Books

Fan Works



  • Thulsa Doom from the Kull The Conqueror stories by Robert E. Howard.
  • Thugra Khotan in the Conan story "Black Colossus," who also goes by the name of Natohk.
  • Azrael de Gray.
  • All literal sorcerers in the Dresden Files, as the term means a spellcaster whose magical abilities are limited to mostly destructive uses, lacking the subtlety of a true wizard. Most of their abilities also involve breaking one or more of the Laws of Wizardry, each of which carries a death penalty. Most notably Victor Sells from the first book, and Kravos from the third. Two full wizards who also fit this trope are Harry's former mentor Justin DuMorne and Cowl, a recurring enemy.
  • Saruman from The Lord of the Rings. He's actually The Mole, attempting to subvert the White Council of good wizards and sages while simultaneously making deals with the Dark Lord Sauron.
    • In the movies, he makes deals. In the books, he thinks that he can be the Dark Lord himself. Gandalf even points out that Saruman had turned Orthanc into a Poor-man's Barad-dur.
      • Oh, he thinks he can be the Dark Lord in the films, too. He just tries (and arguably fails) to be craftier about it.
    • In The Hobbit, we're led to believe that the vile Necromancer is an Evil Sorcerer. In The Lord of the Rings, it's revealed that it's actually Sauron himself.
    • Though he's actually a Physical God, Sauron is called a sorcerer in The Silmarillion as well, probably due to the largely mystical/spiritual nature of his particular power set. The Nazgul all are also called sorcerers, though it's unclear whether they had their powers before getting their rings.
  • Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels. Bellatrix Lestrange also counts. Or basically anyone who regularly uses the Dark Arts.
  • Pryrates from the Memory Sorrow and Thorn books, who gets to be a trifecta: evil priest, Evil Sorcerer, and Evil Chancellor.
  • Theleb K'aarna, Yyrkoon and Jagreen Lern in Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné stories.[context?]
  • Raistlin of the Dragonlance series (after his Face Heel Turn), as well as Fistandantilus.
  • Clark Ashton Smith had lots of these in his short stories. They include Eibon, Malygris, Namirrha, Dwerulas, Ossaru, Azédarac, Mmatmuor and Sodosma, Abnon-Tha, Vacharn and his sons, Sarcand, and Maal Dweb. Some of them are Villain Protagonists.
  • Kasreyn of the Gyre in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.[context?]
  • Arawn Deathlord and Queen Achren from The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.[context?]
    • Morda in Taran Wanderer also fits the trope clearly.[context?]
  • Loraan in the Dragaera series.[context?]
    • In-series, Sethra Lavode is considered by many to be an Evil Sorceress. On the one hand, everything we've seen of her from Vlad's first-person Point of View indicates she's not that bad a person. On the other hand, every once in a while a member of the House of Dzur will go off to slay her, and none of these people are ever heard from again...
  • Joseph Curwen from H.P. Lovecraft's The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and Old Man Whateley from The Dunwich Horror.
  • And then there is what might be the ultimate example of this trope, the Warlock Lord, Brona, from Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara and its prequel First King of Shannara. He is actually described by Bremen to be things like "no longer a man" and "a dark creature." He is said to no longer have human thoughts, but to act completely on instinct. He has given himself to the darkness so completely, when he's in his tent, Risca tries to sneak inside and finish him off only to realize that... he's not there. He's literally become the darkness around him, and it gets to the point that it seems that even taking the form of a vague cloaked figure is somewhat of an annoyance to him and not actually necessary. He IS sorcery.
  • All hail the Crimson King, who orders his servants to drink rat poison so he can watch them die. And could just as easily force them to.
  • The sinister and power-hungry Euron Greyjoy in A Song of Ice and Fire, whose secret arcane knowledge and ominous presence frighten his enemies and subjects alike. The priestess Melisandre, who assassinates her enemies with spirit children that live inside her womb, is another, possibly more frightening example.
  • The Death Gate Cycle is full of magic-using characters, but while several of them are villains, most are given sympathetic backstories and motivation. There are, however, two definite examples of this trope- Sinistrad and Kleitus.
  • Vadim Maur from the Tairen Soul series is a standard example of this trope, and manages to be quite frightening despite (or rather because) he is such an Obviously Evil Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Parodied in Discworld with Dr Hix of the Unseen University's Department of Post-Mortem Communication (and certainly not necromancy), who is officially the University's Bad Person, and is therefore permitted to perform mild acts of "evil", such as practical jokes or saying what everyone else is thinking. The thinking is that, PMC being what it is, it's better to have someone sensible playing a role[1] than run the risk of an actual Evil Sorcerer taking the position.
  • Several villains from The Saga of the Noble Dead practice sorcery, notably Chane, a vampiric Psycho for Hire and Magic Knight, and his partner Welstiel, who specializes in crafting magical items. The character from the series who most fits the stereotypes, though, is Ubad- Necromancer, old, Black Cloak, pact with the dark forces, etc. Not a guy to cross.
  • In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the magician does not tell the hero what taking his shadow entails and describes, elegantly, how honored great magicians are in Hell.
  • Ucteberi in Shadows of the Apt.[context?]
  • Too many villains in The Wheel of Time to name. All thirteen Forsaken, and plenty of others.
  • The Belgariad has Zedar, Ctuchik, Urvon, Zandramas, Asharak, and every single Morindim magician.
  • In The Dragon Hoard the appropriately named Awful. There's also Stamp-Weed, several unnamed-sorcerers and plenty of evil sorceresses.
  • In Heart's Blood Nechtan, Anluan’s great-grandfather, summons The Host (an army of spirits from purgatory)
  • Many of the Canim Ritualists from the Codex Alera, most notably Sarl. The Ritualists as a whole are considered to be this (even by most of their own people) until they get fleshed out more in the last book, which reveals how they were once incredibly respected before gradually becoming corrupt over several generations; Master Marok, a sympathetic old-school Ritualist, is also introduced.
  • Berys/Malior is one of these, a powerful demon master.

Live Action TV

  • Mayor Richard Wilkins III and Ethan Rayne from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[context?]
    • And there are several hints that Giles used to be one as well. Ethan frequently remarks that he never got even close to his old friend in both power and depravity.
  • Turok and Rumina from The Adventures of Sinbad.
  • Maldis from Farscape.[context?]
  • Andre Linoge in the Stephen King miniseries Storm of the Century is either one of these, or an actual devil.
  • Pacha Camac in Blood Ties is an Incan priest who has himself mummified so that he can be resurrected in the future.
  • Vern and Omen in Dark Oracle. Subverted by Doyle; he's creepy and neurotic, and it is repeatedly suggested that he is the real cause of all the twins' problems. He remains one of the good guys until the end though, becoming a semi-Mentor to the main cast.
    • Blaze and Violet are borderline cases. They definitely have magic of some sort, and ally with Omen and Vern at various points, but said magic is rarely shown.
  • A few from Power Rangers: Lord Zedd, his father-in-law Master Vile, and his son Thrax.
  • Baron de Belleme from Robin of Sherwood.[context?]

Myth and Legend

  • Morgan le Fey is portrayed this way in most versions of the King Arthur legend.
  • Koschei the Deathless in Russian folklore.[context?]

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons loves this trope. By campaign setting:
    • Dragonlance: As mentioned above, Raistlin and Fistandantilus.
    • Forgotten Realms: Halaster Blackcloak, Manshoon(s), the ruling council of the city of Shade, Szass Tam and the rest of the Red Wizards of Thay. And these are just the most notable/infamous. There's probably hundreds of 'em.
    • Greyhawk: Vecna (who eventually ascends to godhood), Rary the Traitor, the infamous Acererak.
      • There is also Iggwilv the Witch Queen, who is considered to be the greatest expert on demons who ever lived. One of her sons is the child of a powerful demon lord and accended to divinity. Even though she's hundreds of years old, she looks not a day older than 40 at most.
    • Mystara: Bargle the Infamous.[context?]
    • Ravenloft: Azalin Rex, a Tragic Hero example.[context?]
    • Eberron kind of subverts the trope (like it does with about every other trope) with Vol, who is not only half elf and half dragon, but also undead. And some people believe she was turned into an undead creature as a child.
  • ...and Magic: The Gathering loves it almost as much. The most prominent is Lim-Dul, the Necromancer, whose hordes of undead and demons plagued the continent of Terisiare during the Ice Age; Lim-Dul is later revealed to be another Evil Sorcerer, Mairsil the Pretender, whose soul had been trapped and possessed an innocent man years later. Lim-Dul was followed shortly after by Heidar of Rimewind, a mad ice wizard who wanted to return the world to a second Ice Age. There's also Lord Dralnu, the Lich-Lord of Urborg, a zombie wizard with whom the forces of good were forced to ally against the invading Phyrexians; Memnarch, an evil artificial being with powerful magical abilities; and Virot Maglan, the Cabal Patriarch, who runs a sorcerous mafia.
    • Big Bad Nicol Bolas takes it Up to Eleven, being an Evil Sorcerer Dragon. He is the oldest and the last of the Elder Dragons in a setting where dragons become more powerful and dangerous with age. While he was originally represented in-game as an "ordinary" legend type creature card (with a special ability that has him Mind Rape the opponent instead of dealing damage), he is now a planeswalker. As in a Physical God.
  • Iuchiban in Legend of the Five Rings.
    • Daigotsu was literally raised from birth to be the embodiment of this trope. I mean, the guy serves an evil god willingly...
  • Drachenfells, Nagash and Ergrimm Von Horstmann from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Also, pretty much all Chaos sorcerers, necromancers, Vampire lords, Dark Elf warlocks, Tomb King liche priests and Skaven grey seers also count. No, it's not a happy place; whoever gave you THAT idea?
  • Feng Shui's 69 juncture is ruled by the Eaters of the Lotus, a sinister cabal of evil eunuch sorcerers and their human and demonic servants. The Four Monarchs, banished to the Netherworld, are another example, except for the smartest one of the lot who's not so bad anymore for someone who ruled 1/4th of the world for centuries with absolute power.
  • Lots of people in Warhammer 40,000, since all the factions are mostly evil, and most of them use sorcery to some extent. Chaos Space Marine sorcerers are the most glaring example, being seven foot tall genetically engineered warriors in power armour, AND having the protection of evil gods, and they hate everybody and want unlimited power. However, they pay a price, suffering ever-increasing madness and horrible mutations such as extra limbs, heads, eyes inside their mouths, etc.
    • The best part about the price they pay? They either don't care or they think it's awesome.
  • The Spirit of the Century supplement Spirit Of The Season brings magic more fully into the game, and naturally has a couple of magical villains, including Salomon Mizrahi, a evil kabbalist who is convinced he is a Tzadikim Nistarim, one of the 36 Righteous People whose existence supports that of the world. Interestingly, he's actually better at Science! than he is at magic, making him particularly dangerous.
    • And of course, his mentor, (and general Big Bad of Sot C) Dr. Methusala may be considered to fall under this trope with his mastery of the 10 equations and ability to radically alter reality, and blur the line between science and magic (then again, Sot C treats magic as being answerable to science, just not till it's properly studied).



  • One of the earliest LEGO minifigures was actually called Evil Wizard.[context?]

Video Games

Web Comics

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon is so quick to murder people that he's forgotten just how many he's killed, and is a literal sorcerer - a spellcaster who was born with his powers rather than learning magic through study.
    • Vaarsuvius was also in danger of becoming this, thanks to obsession with ultimate power, but has since had a My God, What Have I Done? realization.
    • Technically Nale was this as well, but as it's not his only character class (and he's much weaker than either of the above) it's not played up as much as his being Elan's brother and leader of the Linear Guild.
  • Lord Dragos from The Beast Legion is probably one of, if not the most sadistic, evil sorcerers around.[context?]
  • Wanda, the croakamancer from Erfworld.[context?]
  • 8-Bit Theater's Black Mage is this mixed with The Chew Toy and Villain Protagonist. Sarda the Sage is a straighter example.

Web Original

Western Animation

  1. The aspect of his personality that most worries the other wizards is his enthusiasm for amateur dramatics