On the first day of villainy, FictionalPenguin gave to thee…the Tyrant of boundless power and greed!
I’m so sorry. That was really the worst, just like the first kind of villain I’m focusing on: the Tyrant! Tyrannical leaders come in all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, and so on. They can start off as a democratically elected official with the best of intentions and the worst ways of handling said intentions, or they could always be a bad-to-the-bone, power-mad thug.
The Tyrant is almost always a control-freak. Every aspect of their dastardly plots, whether those plots are just to keep a kingdom under complete control or world domination, must be something they have total command over. Being able to manipulate every detail of their surroundings is key, to these characters, in maintaining their death-grip on power. Without that, they seem to have nothing and so such characters fall apart.
As mentioned before, these characters may have started off with the best of intentions. Maybe a horrible blight was affecting their kingdom, and so a harsher rule was necessary. A little discomfort for the sake of the greater good, perhaps. And then the laws and rules became more harsh and less liked, which only fed into the Tyrant’s fears of rebellion and desire to keep everything as it probably should be. The cycle spirals further out of control, and suddenly the best intentions turn into the worst possible outcome. There is always the possibility of redemption in this case, but there’s no guarantee.
Good intentions or otherwise, these types of villains typically don’t handle change well. This goes hand-in-hand with being control-freaks, of course. The status quo is either their status quo or it is to be destroyed at all costs.
There could be some spoilers in these examples ahead, so keep that in mind.
King Candy (Wreck-It Ralph) –
The prime example I had in mind when planning this post, King Candy is the Tyrant all other evil tyrants look up to for leadership advice. There’s no way the Glitch, Vanelope, can be allowed to race. He plays it up as though it’s for the best of the game, but it becomes clear that isn’t the case as events of the movie unfold. When Wreck-It Ralph becomes embroiled in Sugar Rush’s “candy-coated heart of darkness”, it becomes clear that King Candy is pulling all of the delicious, devious licorice ropes in this game. The big reveal that King Candy is a game-hopping Turbo who is bent on never losing his place in the arcade’s spotlight only further cements King Candy as one of the most sinister, sneaky, manipulative dictators fiction can offer. Naturally, as with many Tyrants of King Candy’s nature, his desire to have more power is ultimately his undoing.
Count Waltz (Eternal Sonata) –
I hated this little bastard. Count Waltz is a truly manipulative, power-hungry little monster. He’s responsible for raising taxes in Forte, plotting war against Baroque, and he helped himself to even greater riches by selling mineral powder to help cure what ails people. The last one, of course, turned out to be snake oil designed to allow its users to be manipulated, granting them magical powers in the process. Waltz had no redeeming qualities, and his tantrum upon being defeated by players for the last time proved to be his undoing. That said, I loved everything about this ridiculous game.
The Red Queen/The Queen of Hearts (Alice In Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass) –
Honorable mention because who could forget childhood trauma brought on by the repeated use of the phrase “Of with their heads!”?