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"A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair."

Aristocrats Are Evil with ambition!

The Evil Prince is in the line for the throne; he's sure he'd make a great king if the guy(s) ahead of him in the succession would only drop dead. It is the job of the Evil Prince to hurry those obstacles along. By any means necessary.

Usually the Evil Prince is second (or worse) in line for the throne, so is not going to inherit normally. A few real bastards are the eldest sons, however, and will give their fathers a push just to make sure they don't have to wait until the old king drops dead of old age and terminal gout.

A very common subtrope is to have the Evil Prince as brother to the king, who tends to be his polar opposite and utterly oblivious to his brother's true nature. This is usually pretty bad news for the children of the king, as Evil Princes traditionally make rather poor uncles.

For some reason there seems to be very few Evil Princesses, perhaps because of the very strong influence of FairyTale (and Disney) heroines. Or more prosaically, because some princesses are simply not in line to inherit the throne, no matter who may meet with an unfortunate accident. The rare princess who does ascend to the throne in this way will invariably fall into God Save Us From the Queen

The main basis of this belief is that because a ruler is illegitimate, they are automatically evil and that the only "good ruler" is a legitimate one. People tend to forget that a legitimate prince is more likely to be spoiled and grow up uncaring for the plight of others or grow up believing themselves to be one step away from God. The fact that a certain psychopathic Roman emperor was LEGITIMATELY given the throne really undercuts the idea that legitimate monarchs really are "better". Or perhaps the main point of the assumption is simply the belief that almost any law is better than Asskicking Equals Authority. Or that someone who cheerfully disposes of their brothers and/or father is unlikely to rule with kindness.

This is at least Older Than Print, stretching back to Mordred and seen as recently as Stardust.

See also Aristocrats Are Evil, The Baroness, Evil Uncle, and Evil Chancellor.

Contrast with The White Prince, The Wise Prince and Knight in Shining Armor.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The White Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next steps down are The Good Chancellor, Evil Chancellor, Standard Royal Court and Deadly Decadent Court. The next steps up are The Caligula, The Good King, God Save Us From the Queen, The High Queen, She Is the King, and The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.

Examples of The Evil Prince include:


Anime & Manga

  • From Dragon Ball, we have Vegeta, who is nicknamed the Dark Prince, specifically after his Face Heel Turn.
  • Tsukuyomi from Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga refuses to allow Amaterasu to awaken because her current incarnation, his sister, would quash his pollution-and-repression-happy regime in an instant. Actually, she'd do a lot more than that.
  • Most all of the princes in Code Geass are manipulative mass murderers raised by the Holy Britannian Empire's Darwinistic ideals to scheme and fight against each other for the throne... with the exception of the mellow 1st Prince Odysseus, AKA Prince Valium. Schneizel is the prince that tries to overthrow his father and take the throne. Lelouch is the one that succeeds, though he did it for revenge rather than the throne. And to save the world, but that's besides the point. And he did take the throne afterwards, but that was completely unrelated.
  • The original Mobile Suit Gundam has two: Gihren Zabi, who is more properly the son of the Evil Chancellor but kills his father (with a Wave Motion Gun, no less) in order to seize power, and Char Aznable himself. Char is arguably not quite evil; he's just trying to avenge his father by killing the Evil Chancellor and his entire family...
    • Kycilia Zabi had no objections to assassinating her older brother in mid-battle and taking control of Zeon, but this was mostly in revenge for the aforementioned Wave Motion Gunning of their father. Then Char decapitates her with a bazooka. The whole series was...very messy for the Zabi family.
  • Ukyo from Samurai 7 kills the emperor, who he is a clone of in order to inherit the throne sooner, although it's implied he is the last remaining clone of the Emperor (who is hooked up to a life support system), so he probably wouldn't have had to wait that long. He also caused his adoptive father's demotion in order to take his place.
    • He wasn't the last possible heir. He found some of the others and made them act as body doubles. He was the only one to ever be publicly acknowledged as heir instead of being executed as unsuitable, however.
  • Almost everyone in Adarushan no Hanayome assumes main character Alexid to be one of these. He's called the "Black Demon" for his apparent savagery in battle, he consistently wears dark clothing, and his mother was a commoner. Even his mentor, who raised him, believed Alexid harbored resentment towards his older brother the king and harbored ambitions to take the throne. This culminated in his mentor trying to kill him. The truth is the complete opposite. Alexid truly loves his brother and is actually terrified by the prospect of taking over the throne since he doesn't have the same knack for ruling a country.
  • The Five Star Stories has FEMC GL IIII Amaterasu dis Greens OOE Ikaruga, better known as Sarion. While he's a pretty minor character, he still fits this trope as a glove. Ax Crazy? Check. Made himself an orphan just For the Evulz? Check. Gleefully permitted his underlings to rape and pillage their own nation during his rebellion? Check. Rebelled after his royal cousin the protagonist commuted his death sentence (due to aforementioned orphaning) to life imprisonment because a lowly fatima was made a princess and placed higher than him in a succession? A tick mark the size of a Float Temple.
    • And for the kicker he's still one of AKD's premiere knights, commanding a sizable detachment of the Royal Guard, First Easter Mirage Corps Green Left Wing, consisting of heroic sociopaths just like him. In fact, his current princely title was given him after that story with the rebellion. He's just that useful.
  • Xanxus of Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Subverted because he's adopted so he couldn't be the next boss of the Vongola after all. And also Belphegor. His brother Rasiel is supposed to be the next king. Belphegor killed him because of this. In the Future Arc Rasiel shows up alive and reveals that he is just as evil, that he was also planning to assassinate Belphegor and that they tried their plans on the same day.
  • Crown Prince Sincline from GoLion, whom himself is a halfbread spawn of a human and whatever creature Daibazaal is.
  • Rare Female Example: Joei from The Twelve Kingdoms, younger sister to the deceased Queen Joukaku and aspirant to the Kei throne, who tries to usurp it from the rightful heir Youko.
  • Dilandau sits on a throne in a scene or two in Escaflowne, but he is not actually a prince. He is a noble, being Allen's sister and all, but he doesn't know that.


Comicbooks

  • It's explained in his Backstory that Darkseid was second in line for the throne of Apokolips behind his older brother. With help from Desaad, he killed his older brother and usurped both the Omega Force and the role of crown prince.
    • Likewise Marvel's Thanos, whom is an Expy of Darkseid, was the eldest son to the planet Titan's leader and was banished for his crimes. Years later he would return to devastate Titan and rule it with an iron fist until he was defeated by Earth's heroes during his first encounter with the cosmic cube.
  • Aquaman's half-brother Orm (alias Ocean Master), who is constantly out to usurp his place as King of Atlantis.
  • Mickey Mouse and the World to Come has Nikolai of Illustania, who took charge of the kingdom when his father became old and ill and decided to ruin the pristine landscape with industry as well as assist international criminal the Rhyming Man in a scheme to literally change the face of the globe.
  • Bron from Scion began this way before killing his father and becoming king himself.
  • According to two 1940s comic stories, Queen Grimhilde had one of these for a brother.
  • In Teen Titans, Blackfire is first in line to inherit the position as Queen, but the fact that she was born without the superpowers that are common on her planet make her seem weak, so her younger sister Starfire becomes first in line. This does not sit well with Blackfire, who then sells her into slavery to get rid of her.
  • The Yellow Bastard from Sin City fits this trope and then some. As the son of a sadistic senator and heir to the most powerful (and evil) family in the country, he has carte-blanche to do whatever he likes. It includes preying on children.
  • The Fantastic Four found out to their horror that Prince Zorba, the hereditary ruler of Latveria they restored to the throne after deposing Doctor Doom, was this when Von Doom showed them the tyrannical devastation he was inflicting on the country. In cooperation with Doom, the Four helped depose Zorba, but were forced to leave Doom in power.
  • Loki is prince by adoption of Asgard and technically prince by birth of the Frost Giants of Jottunheim. He has enough clout with the Frost Giants to at least use them as Mooks from time to time and regularly schemes to overthrow his adopted father Odin, take over Asgard and kill his foster brother The Mighty Thor somewhere along the way.


Films

  • Prince Yu, from Curse of the Golden Flower.
  • Prince Leopold from The Illusionist, who is based on Prince Rudolph of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Prince Rudolph committed a murder-suicide in his hunting lodge; his body was found with a number of bullets in it indicating that there was a palace cover-up and that The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much. Given that, after his death, Franz Ferdinand became heir, things might have turned out better had Rudolph gained the throne.
  • Louis Mazzini, (eventually) Duke of Chalfont, the cheerfully amoral 'hero' of Kind Hearts and Coronets.
  • Commodus, from Gladiator, though he had something of an excuse--his father, rather than passing on emperorship to him, as had become commonplace (at least in the world of the movie--in Imperial Rome, it was relatively common for an Emperor to choose an adoptive heir as opposed to a blood one; look at Julius, Augustus and Marcus Aurelius himself), was going to give it to Maximus, who in turn was going to use it to put power back into the hands of the Senate and restore the Republic.
  • RoboCop makes a modern-day Evil Prince out of the Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Lord Rathbone from Shanghai Knights.
  • The Madness of King George portrays George III's son, The Prince of Wales, in this manner. Whether or not it's Truth in Television is debatable.
  • Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. He has the sympathetic aspect of fighting for his realm's survival, but his tactics are so extreme that everybody argues against him.
  • Prince Nizam from Prince of Persia the Sands of Time although he's never called by this title, since the audience could confuse him with the good guy.
  • Stardust has a bunch of evil princes; most notably Septimus. Well, should we call them evil, when it is in fact tradition to kill off their brothers?
  • Subverted in Thor. Loki shows all signs of being the evil prince, who wants his brother and father out of the way so that he can have the throne except for one thing..... he doesn't want the throne. He never intended for his Thor to be banished to Earth or for Odin to fall into the Odinsleep, but they did and the throne just dropped into his hands.

 Loki: I never wanted the throne! I only ever wanted to be your equal!

  • Otwani in Sheena. He is a modern example as the film is set in then present day Africa. He has his brother Jabalani assassinated so he can become king.


Literature

  • Wang Sau-Leian in Chung Kuo has to wait for his father and three older brothers to die before ascending the throne - but why wait?
  • Extremely rare female example in the Tamora Pierce Trickster books; Princess Imajane, the regent for the three-year-old king, arranges to send a magical storm to kill his majesty and become queen. Her husband's mostly along for the ride. Surprisingly, it works. For a while.
  • Prince John, from the most widely accepted modern version of the Robin Hood stories (and, according to some, in Real Life, although the latter has been hotly contested among reputable historians on both sides). (Please see the Discussion Page for further details.)
  • Several of these in the Deryni works:
    • Prince Festil Furstán of Torenth was a younger son who didn't like being landless, so he gathered other landless younger sons, borrowed some troops from his father and conquered neighbouring Gwynedd in 822.
    • Prince Conall Blaine Cluim Uthyr Haldane is the eldest son of Prince Nigel Haldane and terminally jealous of his cousin King Kelson and Kelson's foster brother Dhugal, Earl of Transha. He takes secret instruction in using the Haldane powers, which are only supposed to wielded by the reigning monarch. He puts merasha in Dhugal's flask while traveling on a quest for Camber's relics. He seduces the woman Kelson wants to marry. He attacks his father and leaves him in an arcane coma. He ultimately challenges his cousin to a duel arcane at his treason trial. By the way, his second name was also that of a Festillic king; coincidence? Maybe not.
    • Mahael and Teymuraz are this (as well as being evil uncles) to Liam-Lajos in King Kelson's Bride. One or both of them are widely suspected of suspected of disposing of Liam's elder brother Alroy previously.
  • All the princes in Stardust (except possibly Primus), but especially Prince Septimus. Moreover, their father was himself an example of The Evil Prince made good, as were a number of other monarchs before him (it was a family tradition). Primus, while clearly ambitious, appears not to be evil (to stop Septimus, Primus bribes a soothsayer to lead his brother on a wild goose chase; to stop Primus, Septimus tries to poison him).
    • In the book, each of the three princes that survive their father (including Primus) had killed one of their brothers; Septimus had killed two. Before the book ends, Septimus had killed a third and was quite peeved that someone had Primus killed first as he now had to avenge his dead brother instead of kill him.
      • In the book, the father is quite peeved at the inadequacy of this generation: his father had been, properly, down to one son by the time of his death. He says as much in the movie as well and even helps arrange for Septimus to off another one before he dies.
  • CS Lewis's Narnia: Prince Rabadash in The Horse and his Boy; Miraz from Prince Caspian killed his brother, stole the throne, and plotted to kill his nephew as soon as his own son and heir was born.
  • In Tolkien's The Silmarillion we have Ar-Pharazôn, last King of Númenor, usurped the throne by the less usual method of marrying the rightful heiress and then forcibly reducing her role to that of his consort. There's also the example of Maeglin, the nephew of King Turgon of Gondolin, who betrays the city to Morgoth partially to gain rulership over it, but mostly because he wants to marry his cousin. That she already has a husband and son doesn't stop him -- he just plans to off them first.
  • Although based on Macbeth, given that he's the brother of the king he murders, Duke Felmet of the Discworld novel Wyrd Sisters likely counts.
    • This also seems to be played with in the novel Men at Arms where the evil aristocrats try to place Captain Carrot (the legitimate heir) on the throne with Edward d'Eath and other members of the Assassins' Guild as Poisonous Friends.
    • The Duke of Sto Helit in Mort. Cousin to King Olerve of Sto Lat, he's gone from fifth to second in line before he appears, and becomes next in line shortly afterwards. Described in the Discworld Companion as "quite capable of killing all who stood between himself and the throne, or even between himself and the drinks cabinet."
  • Several Princes vying for Oberon's throne in the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. Describing the exact intentions of the Nine would spoil most of the intrigue, but be prepared that some "evil" guys will be redeemed and some "good" ones will reveal themselves evil to the core.
  • The novel The Prisoner of Zenda has an interesting example in the character of Black Michael, who plots to capture and kill his half-brother, the legitimate heir and take the throne for himself. Uniquely, he is much more popular than their true heir, suggested to be their father's favorite and doesn't come across as that evil outside of this plan.
  • Prince Serg of Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor was sufficiently nasty that his father was forced to kill him rather than let him succeed to the throne.
    • A subplot in A Civil Campaign deals with this on a lesser scale. Richars Vorrutyer had done everything up to and including possible murder to insure his cousin Count Pierre died without issue and left him the heir apparent. He thought Pierre's younger sister Donna using an old rule to secure a three month stay on his confirmation and heading offplanet before the late Count was in the ground was of no consequence...and was rather put out when Pierre's younger brother Dono returned to Barrayar to claim said seat by right of blood.
    • Toyed with in the unrelated novel The Curse of Chalion. A bare bones description of Royse Teidez slaughtering the sacred menagerie that was keeping the worst effects of the titular curse on Roya Orico's health at bay would seem to fit this trope perfectly, but the boy honestly thought he was eliminating the uncanny source of his older half-brother's illness. The Evil Chancellor's Even More Evil brother, who put Teidez up to it, apparently knew better and was probably trying to supplant his elder brother by replacing the chancellor's puppet monarch with his own. But he dies before his plan can come to fruition.
  • Duke Roger of Conte from Song of the Lioness. He tried to kill 1) his cousin, 2) his uncle, 3) his aunt, 4) his cousin's squire (the heroine of the series), 5) his uncle's closest advisors, and 6) his cousin's closest friends. He wasn't really the nicest relative to be saddled with.
    • And when he came back to life in Book 4 after his death in Book 2, he was even worse. Not only did he seem to just want to kill everyone for the heck of it - he literally tried to kill everyone. Even caused a flipping earthquake to do so! Apparently, dying is an real eye-opener to how miniscule the ambition of taking over one's own country really is.
  • Conphas, the crown prince of the Nansur Empire in Second Apocalypse, is like that.
  • Prince Regal, from Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy fits this quite well. He's born the third son of the king. After Fitz appears and Prince Chivalry (the eldest) steps down, he bides his time for a while before sending Verity (the middle Prince) off on a suicidal mission (and sends some Mooks to make sure he doesn't return), and finally offs the king right after being confirmed as the King-in-Waiting.
  • The Prelude to Dune novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson ( if one acknowledges that they exist) have two examples:
    1. Shaddam Corrino IV poisons his father, Elrood IX, to get the throne.
    2. Glossu "Beast" Rabban kills his father Abulurd. Abulurd tells him: "You couldn't kill your own father. You are not such a beast." Glossu kills him and responds: "From now on you may call me Beast."
    • In the original Dune novel, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen is one part this to two parts Bastard Understudy.
  • Prince Lycheas, Bastard Bastard cousin of Queen Ehlana in the David Eddings Elenium trilogy, assumes the throne as Prince Regent while Ehlana is magically incapacitated. He's little more than a puppet of Sinister Minister Annias though, who is himself being jerked around by Martel and Azash.
    • And in the Malloreon, it's revealed how the succession works in Ctholl Murgos: The eldest surviving prince is the heir, and his first royal act is to order the execution of all others. So, all princes are evil, and only the most clever one wins. For example, The Drasnian bastard child.
      • This was actually the rule in the Real Life Ottoman Empire, and was fine with the populace for several generations until the early death of a sultan resulted in the execution of several child princes. This was a bit much for Turkish sensibilities and after that reign sultans locked their brothers up instead. This proved convenient when the current ruler succumbed without providing an heir.
  • Redwall has both Evil Princes and Evil Princesses. In Mossflower Tsarmina Greeneyes usurps the throne from her brother (displaying ultimate ignorance of point #3 in the Evil Overlord List), and in Marlfox various members of the seven offspring of the titular villainous royal family are constantly attempting to backstab their siblings and mother.
  • One for the Morning Glory Part of the backstory. The kingdom of Overhill was independent because a king had sent his brother packing to an unsettled corner of the kingdom, and he had declared it an independent kingdom.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis, part of Salvandor Sondar's Backstory; he killed his uncle to gain his place and still resents how much his uncle was loved.
  • Dagnarus of the The Sovereign Stone Trilogy was second in line for the throne. He didn't hate his father or try to take the throne away from him, but he did both for his elder brother, Helmos.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40000 novel Brothers of the Snake, when the Space Marine Priad is told that a queen was murdered, his immediate suspect is the new king. The Inquisitor, who told him, tells him that he is no detective.
  • Wheel of Time:
    • Luc apparently thought he was going to be the king of Andor, despite it only ever having Queens. Luckily, he mysteriously disappeared before this could happen.
    • This kind of succession seems to be standard in Seanchan. The Empress's children are expected to contend with each other, so only the fittest can inherit the throne. It's not clear whether the Empress herself is a target from this.
  • Prince Xizor from the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project qualifies. Whether "Prince" might just be the title given to him for being the head of Black Sun, he sits at the Emperor's feet and has a bitter rivalry with Darth Vader for Palpatine's favor.
    • Xizor was a prince to the Falleen, his own race, however the majority of his race, including his family, were accidentally killed by Vader. He secretly planned to murder the Emperor and Vader, though he suspected, and it was confirmed, that Palpatine was well aware of this and kept him around since he was useful and he felt that any of Xizor's plans would fail.
  • Prince Robert, the king's brother in "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone", who kills his sister -for whom he has a creepy attraction- in order to lure his brother into a trap. In which he gets killed, but manages to reappear as undead by a fluke
  • Forgotten Realms: A Red Wizardess of Thay once magically disguised herself as the queen and seduced Azoun IV, evidently intending to give birth to this trope and seize the throne of Cormyr in a Succession Crisis. Subverted when her agents found out that Azoun had sown so many wild oats as a young man, their Evil Prince would have to get in line behind hundreds of older byblows.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • In the first trilogy, Prince Ancar of Hardorn arranged for his father's murder so that he could become king sooner. He went on to be a sadistic bastard, who tortured people for fun, drove his own country into ruin and then invaded his neighbors.
    • When Prince Thanel of Rethwellan finds out that he can't be crowned king of Valdemar without first being Chosen to become a Herald (which requires being a genuinely nice person), he tries to murder his wife, Queen Selenay, so he can become Regent for their daughter Elspeth.
  • Ranger's Apprentice - Halt is the older of a set of twins. His brother drove him from their native kingdom to take the throne for himself.


Live-Action TV

  • Prince Edmund, from the first series of Blackadder, tries very hard to be one but fails because he's so pathetically spineless. Prince Ludwig the Indestructible from the second series is also fairly comic, being a master of disguise with a silly accent and a long list of psychological problems. Oddly enough, he's a successful example. Arguably, the Blackadder of the third series would also count in so far as he ends up taking the place of George IV and presumably living out the rest of his life under that identity.
  • Princess Eleanor of the short-lived British drama The Palace is an ultra rare female example. Within the (fictional, and unnamed) British Royal Family depicted on the show she is the older sister of the new King, Richard IV. She doesn't stooped to violence, but she clearly has no qualms about forcing her brother to abdicate through scandal and political crisis.
  • Of course that most luscious of Evil Princes Dirk Blackpool of the short lived Wizards and Warriors.
  • Lanny from Pair of Kings; presumably a prince, because he was to have been king before Boomer and Brady came along.


Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40000 has Horus, most favored son of the Emperor. Also the one responsible for plunging humanity into a galaxy-wide dark age run by an extreme Church Militant.


Theater

  • Many, many characters in Shakespeare, but Claudius (Hamlet), Macbeth (Macbeth, of course) and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Richard III) are the three most prominent. Don John from Much Ado About Nothing might count as well, although he's more interested in messing with the life of his brother than taking power (during the play -- he's said to have rebelled before the play). About half of the examples in other media come from works that are, to a greater or lesser extent, based on these villains.


Videogames

  • Prince Luca Blight from Suikoden II fits this trope to a T. He is probably more evil than all of the other princes listed here combined. Yet he notably lacks one of the most common traits - he didn't kill his father. While he may eventually have wound up killing his dad, he certainly didn't seem to have any immediate plans to do so. All Luca did was slaughter the equivalent of his country's version of the Boyscouts/Army Cadets wholesale as an excuse to restart a pointless war, sadistically abused and murdered hordes of peasants along with a couple of major characters, traumatised a little girl into becoming the game's resident Cute Mute and generally acted like a complete Khorne-wannabe. It was Jowy, one of the game's protagonists, that had been planning to murder the king and usurp the throne from practically the beginning of the main plot proper - and succeeded. It adds another interesting dimension, though, that Luca knew about the plot from the beginning and was coaxing Jowy along (he knew Jowy drank some Antitoxin before poisoning himself for the blood-exchanging ritual with the king). Hell, that could've been a test of character and loyalty he gave Jowy.
  • The sociopathic villains of both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII, Seymour and Vayne both qualify (although they aren't exactly princes, they still are the inheritants of enormous power). Vayne even goes so far as to systematically assassinate his older siblings for the throne. As an interesting twist with the trope being downplayed: it's heavily implied that all of Vayne's actions are aiming for Larsa, his younger brother, to inherit the throne, so that Larsa (and Archadia) are free from the Occuria and can control their own destiny. The goal he accomplishes. Whether he meant it to happen the way it did is still debated by fans.
  • A non-royal example would have to be Morgan Fey from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Destined to become village leader and usurped by her far more talented sister, she has plotted to kill every other member of her family and frame the rest for the murder, just so she or her daughter can become the new Master.
  • Ashnard from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Unusual in that he was only distantly related to the previous king; a lot of people had to die for him to take the throne.
    • Radiant Dawn explicitly shows him cutting down the king, although that was to break the curse Ashnard setup to kill everyone else before it killed him.
    • Continuing the tradition, Ashnard's long-lost son (who would probably be just as evil himself were it not for the Morality Pet and Victorious Childhood Friend aspect) has a direct hand in his defeat and death at the end of the game. Averted in that said son was part of the Good Guys and had no knowledge of being a part of a royal lineage at all.
  • Arthas of Warcraft fame. Even though he had lost his soul at the point when he stabbed his own father, he showed a great deal of evil and selfish tendencies throughout the campaign before.

 King: What are you doing, son?

Arthas: Succeeding you, father.

  • Crusader Kings, by Paradox Interactive, encourages this type of behaviour, by virtue of the fact that you can inherit another kingdom.
  • Fable has this in Lady Grey, the Mayor of Bowerstone, who locked her sister in the Grey House basement and starved her to death in order to become Mayor. This actually forms a subplot in the expansion pack, The Lost Chapters.
  • The 'not so good' Prince Archibald in Heroes of Might and Magic II, who ascends to the throne through a series of ridiculous accidents.
    • In an interesting variation, none of those accidents hit his actual competitor for the throne; rather, they hit the ones responsible for deciding between the two.
  • Celdic in Tales of Graces. He kills his brother (the king) and repeatedly tries to kill his nephew, the next in line for the throne, though the whole thing backfires.
  • Cesare Borgia, Captain-General of the Papal Armies, is the de facto Prince to his father, Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, having taken that spot by having his brother murdered and using his armies to conquer Italy, while privately conspiring towards sidelining his father. This doesn't succeed though, as the Assassin Order intends to push them both out, and the eventual regicide actually accelerates his own downfall.
  • Bhelen of Dragon Age: Origins arranges to have his older brother Trian killed and his other sibling (the PC, if they've chosen the Dwarf Noble Origin) blamed for the murder and exiled to the Deep Roads. He is also implied to have poisoned his father, blackmails half of the nobles into choosing him, uses false evidence to discredit his opponent (who was his father's choice for heir), and attempts to launch a coup if his bid for the throne fails. Interestingly, picking him as king is better for the dwarves in the short run as Bhelen imposes social reforms and opens Orzammar to human trade, which with some help from Ferelden leads to the darkspawn being pushed far back and several lost Thaigs recovered. He eventually dissolves the Deadly Decadent Court altogether and rules as a tyrant with support from the lower classes.
  • Morgeilen aka The Father from the King's Quest II Fan Remake.
  • Minor character Captain Juno of the Turtle Clan in Guild Wars is one of those rare female examples. She (allegedly) killed her own father to gain leadership of the Clan. She's not an outright evil character. In fact we learn most of this through quests involving her daughter, the Ritualist hero Xandra, from the Eye of the North expansion.
  • Subverted with Laharl from Disgaea Hour of Darkness. He wants to be the Evil Prince, but he's not quite as worthy of the "evil" descriptor as he wants to be.


Webcomics


Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Prince Geraden, the cousin of the current King Gerard Aurelac de Maar Sul, was kidnapped as a baby and ended up corrupted into an amoral, power-hungry warrior. He sees his younger cousin as a weak, easily manipulative fool who has in his view robbed him of his rightful throne and that it is his destiny to turn Maar Sul into a powerful, feared kingdom which it once was. Emira Adela al-Saif ends up killing her twin sister Razia in order to become the Sultana of Vanna.


Western Animation

  • In the Disney Animated Canon:
  • Prince Charming from the Shrek movies is intended more as a parody of the traditional fairy tale good prince, but fits this role very well in Shrek the Third.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko subverts this trope entirely as even before his Dark and Troubled Past is revealed it is clear that he is loyal to a fault towards his father the Evil Overlord. It is only after two and a half seasons of Character Development, IOW when he makes a Heel Face Turn and become the Sixth Ranger/The Atoner, that he seeks Ozai's overthrow.
    • Played straight with the current Fire Lord, Ozai, who killed his father (or had his wife kill him) and then usurped his older brother Iroh as heir. However, also averted, in that Ozai's daughter Princess Azula, is not only one of few Evil Princesses, she consistently proves herself loyal to her father at significant risk to her life and cheerfully passes up golden opportunities to usurp him. Whether she was acting out of actual affection, habitual/conditioned obedience, or simple disinterest in taking the throne herself yet is a matter of debate among fans.
      • At show's end, it is plain that Azula loves her father as much as her screwed-up mind is capable of loving anyone. Not only that, she gets the one reward every Bastard Understudy wants, the crown. She was to be crowned Fire Lord Azula, until Zuko came back to dish out some destiny-cooked justice on her. She could have had it all if her best friends betraying her didn't seriously shake her. However, the title and position of Fire Lord was summarily reduced to something between a hollow gesture and a bad joke by her father assuming the position of Phoenix King and going forth to remove the Earth Kingdom from the map and Azula knew it.
  • On Young Justice, Count Vertigo is this, despite having a different title. He attempts to steal the donor heart intended for his niece, the ten-year-old Queen Perdita, to gain the throne of Vlatava.


Real Life

  • Real Life example (sort of): British comedy tends to portray Prince Charles, first in line to the throne, as eagerly awaiting his mother's death (and sometimes playing a more active role in it). To a lesser extent, Edward VII as well; he once said "We all are blessed by the eternal father; I am cursed with an eternal mother" (Edward's mother was Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years).
    • Edward VII wasn't evil though -- he was regarded as quite a good king actually. Though while Queen Victoria was still alive, he was involved in a number of scandals and was probably regarded by some people as, if not actually evil, then certainly pretty wicked.
    • Likely averted in this day and age as in Britain today, it is most likely the Prime Minister to be the one with the real political power. Since he's an elected official (still always the chance of a Prime Minister Evil...
  • Richard III may have been this to his nephews Edward V and Richard of York. There is no way to be sure, though.
    • As things stand, it's rather unlikely he ever killed anyone. What muddles the issue is blatant Orwellian propaganda - Henry VII defeated Richard III in battle to become king and wanted to make himself seem better by comparison, so a lot of misinformation was put forth. By the time Shakespeare was writing his plays under Henry's granddaughter Elizabeth I, no one was alive to say differently about Richard III and anything portraying him in a good light was very much frowned upon by her majesty.
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