Stupid Evil

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"No Muttley, we can't win fairly. We are villains, ergo we have to cheat!"

– Dick Dastardly, while the finish line is right behind him.

"If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you'll be treated as a mad dog; taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed."

– Roose Bolton to his son Ramsay, on why Stupid Evil is such a terrible idea.

Yes, Lawful Stupid has its Evil counterpart. A general trait of Stupid Evil is doing evil things for the sake of being evil, rather than because they are (morality aside) easy or viable paths towards wealth, power, revenge, or whatever the villain's goal is. This is especially true when a non-evil, or less evil way of doing things would work better.

A villain who is truly insane can get away with this sort of thing since what compels them to act in an evil manner is the fact that they have some screws loose, and likewise comedic villains can get away with it because their evil-ness is just a plot device to cause funny things to happen. However, "serious" nemeses and long-term, high-threat villains are usually expected to have a goal and some capacity for rational planning; a villain who takes time out of a busy day to kick a puppy or eat a kitten just to establish evil credibility will probably be treated with derision by players.

Compare to Chaotic Stupid. They're not quite the same, but there's often a lot of overlap due the tendency of bad players and writers to mistake "chaotic" with "act like as big of an obnoxious asshole as physically possible".

Examples of Stupid Evil[edit]

A Song of Ice and Fire[edit]

The amount of retarded villains in this series is truly staggering. And yet despite all of the stupid evil committed by them they are still winning, even if only because the good guys are either Lawful Stupid or Stupid Good. Joffrey and Gregor got offed painfully, as did the Boltons in the TV series, while Cersei got publicly shamed, but compared to what happened to the good guys in the story, it's a slap on the wrist. Of course, A Song of Ice and Fire is known for its grey morality at time, and most Stupid Evil characters have something of an explanation.

  • Joffrey Baratheon. He sends an assassin armed with a Valyrian Blade (one of only a few hundred such weapons in all of Westeros, and an unusual weapon for a common hitman when a common dirk would have sufficed) to kill Bran Stark. And when that fails, it causes the Starks to suspect the Lannisters. He also kills Eddard Stark, therefore sparking an unnecessary and very costly civil war that went against what his family had planned. Despite that, they still came out on top since they are still standing while the Starks are scattered, due mainly to Tywin and Tyrion being tactical genii and strategic masterminds.
    • Second opinion: Joffrey didn't send the catspaw to kill Bran, and character's thinking it makes sense for him to is just a classic misdirection on GRRM's part. Too many things don't add up, in a story noted for it's details. Furthermore, it's likely the War of the Five Kings would have kicked off anyway, without Eddard been killed.
    • He also chooses to ignore his duties and the welfare of his people in favor of satiating his sadistic behavior, even abusing his people when they're seeking his help. He regularly abuses Sansa in particular, and threatens to have her killed despite the fact it will reduce her value as a political hostage and (in their eyes) could cause the Starks to kill their political hostage, Jamie Lannister.
    • Even his family isn't safe from his team-killing fuckery: he has one of his Kingsguard try to murder his uncle Tyrion in the middle of the Battle of Blackwater instead of just simply poisoning him (as Tyrion pointed out). He even calls Tywin a coward. Out loud. In front of other people. To his face. Luckily for Joffrey they were related, or he would have been struck down. And as what turns out to be a final hurrah at his wedding, he insults his in-laws and his bride at their wedding reception and subjects Tyrion to petty tortures in front of everyone.
    • His only excuses (if even that) are the fact that he's like 12 or 13 in the books, providing a realistic excuse for his moronic, petty and short-sighted behavior, and the fact that he's inbred and possibly not all there mentally as a result. Also, his mother is Cersei. More on that in a moment.
  • Cersei Lannister, while not as dumb as her son Joffrey (hardly something to be proud of) is egotistic and paranoid as fuck; if she, for any reason, thinks you might threaten her or her children, even for something as minor as telling her her latest idea is a bad one, you're in trouble. At best, she will view you as an enemy and will be a passive-aggressive bitch to you, and at worst she'll have you brutally tortured to death, even if you're one of House Lannister's allies to whom good relations are vital.
    • She invites Gregor Clegane (see below) to King's Landing at the same time Oberyn Martell is visiting, despite the fact that Gregor is the reason there's bad blood between house Lannister and House Martell, and the Martells know it.
    • She also responds to a satirical puppet show about House Lannister being evil tyrants by having anyone who saw it either sharply fined (up to half of all their money if they're rich) or mutilated (an eye cut out if they're too poor to pay) and ordering the puppeteers executed. She didn't even mind the play at first; she only took offence because the ending had the Lannisters getting their comeuppance at the hands of a Targereyn. Then, instead of the headsman, she does something worse and hands the puppeteers over to her resident mad scientist for deadly experiments at his request.
    • As seen above, Cersei encourages the worst aspects of her kids; in the case of Joffrey, this is like attempting to put out a forest fire with napalm. Her atrocious parenting, combined with conceiving Joffrey with her brother Jamie AND Robert's own negligence, is the reason Joffrey's such a repulsive asshole. She ignores the numerous acts of cruelty and stupidity of her eldest son and brushes off any criticism of him as being a personal attack, AND also nearly turns her other actually half-decent person of a son into a gullible yes-man after trying and failing to make him more like Joffrey (see above).
    • She kills the high septon because he was a cat's paw Tyrion put into power to keep the faith in House Lannister's pocket, being a decent but easily manipulated man (also Cersei's paranoia that Tyrion was out to get her). This leads to a more competent and devout high septon getting into power with ambitions of his own. She then let him raise his own army, creating another player to threaten House Lannister's precarious position and one unbeholden to politics, which leads to her arrest when he proves to be smart (though that's a good thing for everyone not allied with the Lannisters).
    • As revenge for the High Sparrow imprisoning her and Margaery taking her place as Queen, she decides to blow them all the fuck up using magical napalm while nearly all her enemies were at church. Despite the fact that this would piss off nearly every person in the Seven Kingdoms who followed the Faith, resulted in Tommen (who was friends with the High Sparrow and loved Margaery dearly) to commit suicide via jumping out a window, and made a pissed off Olenna Tyrell withdraw all Tyrell support from King's Landing and declare for the resurgent House Targaryen alongside Dorne. Which means that Cersei and House Lannister literally have no major allies left in Westeros sans the Freys, who aren't at all reliable. And Freys are in process of being destroyed by Arya, at least in tv show. Unfortunately she was one step ahead and easily takes out House Tyrells and Dorne despite their efforts in backing the Targaryen by using the Iron Bank to buy herself a mercenary force and recruiting Euron the process despite losing Casterly Rock to her rivals.
    • In the TV, show, her cruelty drove away even Jamie Lannister (though his happened much earlier into the books).
    • Also in the TV show, when Daenerys and her supports come to parley with Cersei's forces for help against the White Walkers and their zombie armies (bringing a captured zombie to Cersei's court as proof and cutting it up with all the pieces still attacking, showing Cersei the threat she spent all her previous time dismissing as "grumpkins and snarks" is very real), Cersei does the stupidest possible thing and refuses to support them, saying "let the dead eat them all". She ignored the fact that this would leave her on the receiving end of a curb-stomp battle from either the White Walkers undead (who would be bolstered by the dead from Daenerys' forces, which includes at least one of her dragons) or Daenerys' forces + everyone outside King's Landing who's had enough of her tyranny.
  • Gregor Clegane
    • Gregor is a serial killer with severe anger control issues, having gone through three wives who died under suspicious circumstances. At his keep there's a high turnover rate among the servants, and even animals avoid his chambers. Before this, he maimed his brother - would've killed him if three other people didn't intervene - and it's heavily implied to have murdered his sister and father, despite the father doting on him even when his evil started to become apparent.
    • He once caught his brother playing with one of his toy soldiers when they were children. So took the logical next step of holding his brother's face over the fire, permanently disfiguring half his face and mentally scarring him.
    • Before the story starts it's an open secret that he raped and murdered Rheagar's wife Elia Martell, even though he hadn't been ordered to do so. He also killed a baby, though he'd been ordered to do that the fact remains he had no qualms about killing a baby and did so by smashing its head against a wall. This bites him and the Lannisters in the ass BIG TIME later on, though he deserved it.
    • After losing a jousting match, Gregor decapitates his own horse, then tries to kill his opponent, Loras Tyrell, and his own brother when the latter intervenes. Had Gregor succeeded, it's likely the Lannisters could kiss any hope of an alliance with the Tyrells goodbye.
    • The men who Gregor recruits as his hand-picked warriors aren't chosen for their intelligence, just their fighting skills and sadism (not even loyalty, as they serve Gregor out of fear and plunder) that rape and torture random peasants to death for the lulz.
    • After taking Harrenhal, Gregor and his men torture the prisoners to death, including ones who are nobility and could be used as leverage in the war.
    • Arugably when, before killing Oberyn, Gregor shouts a confession to his crime of murdering and raping Elia in front of all of the nobles in King's Landing. This would've put House Martell and House Lannister at open war if the Martells hadn't been already secretly plotting to destroy them, though this does push their schedule forward.
    • For all that, there is at least some justification as to why this guy is kept around by House Lannister. He's a brutal warrior in every sense of the word who has an aura of fear and for all his butchery, rapine, rage and blunt cruelty he's never threatened House Lannister directly and is (for want of a better word) content to be their pet beast.
    • Second opinion: "Modern day" Gregor is a victim as much as any others. A drug addict, kept permanently addled by a powerful cocktails of painkillers and other drugs, likely on purpose, to keep him useful as a warrior. It is mentioned milk of the poppy (opium in all but name) has basically no effect on him any more due to consuming it so much. Some even say it's a lifelong problem, Gregor attempting to dull the pain of his physical condition, gigantism.
    • Third opinion: That doesn't excuse Gregor's sadism or actions. Opium isn't steroids, it doesn't increase your aggression or take away your free will. While Gregor is a victim of migranes, he was still an evil person.
  • Ramsay Bolton
    • He killed his half-brother, despite the fact that this also deprived his father of another heir which in medieval-type societies is important as the more offspring they have the more like the noble family is to survive.
    • Even though his father, Roose, is a cunning general who manipulated and back-stabbed his way into rulership of the North, Ramsey lacks any of the strategic foresight and critical thinking that Roose possesses. He is totally fearless and reckless with his actions, which Roose points out will most likely be his downfall if they are not curbed.
    • His savage exploits are known across Westeros, and he continuously pisses off the other Northern lords by hunting down their subjects like deer. This is part of the reason why half of the Northern Houses rebel against Bolton overlordship. He chooses to flay Ironborn captives alive despite promising them clemency if they surrendered, along with turning Theon Greyjoy into his personal eunuch slave. This has ensured that the Ironborn will now fight to the death rather than sue for peace, and contemplate a full invasion of the North instead of merely raiding its settlements.
    • After marrying the fake-Arya Stark (who everyone else thinks is the real one) he tortures her, threatens her and tries to make her do certain things to his hunting dogs. This sets off the Northerners' Powder Keg of Justice, causing an uprising against the Boltons that will likely end with Ramsay's and Roose's heads on spikes.
    • The TV version actually murders his father in the middle of the war, feeds his step-mother and half-brother to his dogs, and ultimately gets his own army wiped out through sheer team-killing fuckery before being beaten to near-death by Jon Snow before Sansa feeds him to his own dogs -- who were only hungry enough to turn on him because he'd starved them for a week beforehand in anticipation of feeding them the Starks.
    • It should be noted that the TV version of Ramsay is a controversial character with numerous viewers calling him a villainous Mary Sue for some downright insane successes from fighting off trained armored killers while half-naked (especially jarring because a scene in a previous episode made a point about Arya’s unarmored swords instructor losing to an armored opponent and Arya’s own sword failing to pierce The Hound’s armor) to the infamous “twenty good men”. This is high contrast to his book counterpart who, while having some success, is nowhere close to the all-capable show Ramsay in ability. Instead, the evil Bolton mastermind happens to be his more pragmatic father Roose who criticizes Ramsay’s methods on multiple occasions.
  • Slaver's Bay (aka Stupid Evil: The Civilization)
    • The neo-ghiscari civilization of slaver's bay is run by a bunch of decadent slave dealers who do nothing besides wax on about how great the 5 millennia dead old Ghiscari Empire was and leave their society in the bronze age in a world one step removed from Medieval Stasis
    • Of the four cities of Slaver's Bay, two of them (Meereen and Yunkai) believe that a bunch of slaves with spears and shields led by fops on horseback or in chariots wearing linen vests and helmets made to accommodate their stupid hairdos constitute a proper army. After Yunkai gets its butt kicked by Dany when she brings a half decent army to the field which does not run at the first excuse, they decide that it would be a good idea to raise new slave armies that are chained together and fight on stilts.
    • One of them (Astapor) trains Unsullied elite spear slaves who obey any order given to them without question, which they sell and use for defense. The Masters of Astapor agree to sell all the Unsullied they've got to Dany, who proceeds to have them sack their city and kill them.
    • For no particular tactical reason, the leadership of Meereen decided to taunt an oncoming army by having child slaves nailed to mileposts to die along the road - a decision which backfires on them rather spectacularly.


  • Any Captain Planet villain
    • Strawman Villains in poorly written fiction in general.
  • Humans in science and fantasy fiction often end up being Stupid Evil when the writer wants to make a statement about discrimination. According to these tales, humans are apparently overly-panicky and violent psychopaths itching for an excuse to murder the shit out of other species. For instance, in Avatar the human army is portrayed as a bunch of jingoist lunatics who want to slaughter the peaceful Na'vi for the resources they need rather than trying to reap long-term benefits by making peaceful contact. The advent of Humanity Fuck Yeah is in part a reaction to this phenomenon.
  • Some followers of Chaos such as Firaeveus Carron can prove to be this most of the time.
Sicks, a pretty stupid evil dude, also a neckbeard. His face should remind you of someone who should not be named.
  • Sicks (yep, that's his name) from Demonic Detective Neuro.
    • Causing unnecessary murder or tragedy on other family for his own satisfaction(he is a sadist btw).
    • Randomly pissing off Neuro, a real demon and starting the most gory and violent arc that Jump had ever published.
    • Claiming his own ideal of evil is the "true evil" but rather just a cheap, rotten flavor of a puzzle in Neuro's tongue.
      • Also, his family has done the same thing as he did for many generations and claiming that this "evil" has evolve them into more human than anyone else.
  • Grimdark as a whole often suffers from characters who make things crappy just for the sake of making things crappy.
  • Lolth actually enforces Stupid Evil in her worshipers. Because of her the Drow spend 3 quarters of their energy fighting each other instead of defending themselves, which is a really bad idea since they live in an underground city under constant threat of being raped by Illithids and Beholders. In fact, when things get really bad she literally has to tell them to stop for a short period of time.
  • The Skaven from Warhammer Fantasy, whose rival clans always plan on backstabbing each other even if they're all fighting a mutual (and far worse) enemy. A perfect plan for them involves getting their own enemies and allies to kill each other, until they are the only one left to face the next enemy (keep in mind that "they" doesn't just mean rival clans either, in an apocalyptic scenario even their personal secretary is only barely less of an enemy than the hordes of the undead). As above, it takes the Horned Rat, their god, as well as the invention of instant communication via the Farsqueaker to get their fuzzy little asses united.
  • The Joker. Once merely a criminal mastermind with a chaotic, unpredictable bent, he's devolved as time goes on into a murder-happy rabid dog who kills for the jollies and because he gets off on being punched in the face by Batman.
  • Edgelord characters by preteens/actual teens on DeviantArt.
  • Starscream from Transformers. He's too ambitious and egotistical to realize how good his position as Megatron's second-in-command is, and so spends much of his time trying to usurp his leader with predictable failure. He also tends to do things on the spur of the moment to satisfy his own ego, as demonstrated in Prime where he angrily takes credit for killing Arcee's best friend Cliffjumper while in handcuffs in front of Arcee, simply because he doesn't want Airachnid stealing the credit for things he did.
  • The Sith in the Star Wars universe suffer from this greatly, and it's a major reason they keep losing to the Jedi and failed to keep any of their empires intact long-term. In fact, one could argue that they're a perfect case study on why Stupid Evil is a bad idea:
    • Firstly, whereas the Jedi code encourages understanding yet controlling your emotions (that way you take them into account, but they don't prevent you from doing what is necessary), the Sith code encourages embracing your emotions and indeed, many of the most powerful Sith like Darth Vader are incredibly emotionally damaged. Thus Sith tend to do things in the heat of the moment and often lack the patience needed to be truly effective. Darth Malak can't find Revan and the Ebon Hawk crew on a planet he has control of? Oh well better just level his own planet with Star Destroyers, costing himself thousands of workers and soldiers in his psychotic and desperate rush to off his old master.
    • Secondly, the Sith code is built on a hyper-Darwinist, "survival-of-the-fittest" structure. While this sounds decent enough on paper, in practice it meant that the Sith constantly backstabbed each other in idiotic power plays, often leading to Sith killing each other more often than they killed Jedi. Crossing with the "overly emotional" thing above, their lack of patience often led to them betraying each other way before it was beneficial to do so. Darth Bane was the first major Sith Lord to realize how stupid and unsustainable this lifestyle was and did something about it. His "rule of two" may have led to the Sith population being lower than ever before or after, but at least it kept the Sith order alive and prevented most of them from slaughtering each other in pathetic attempts to gobble up more power.
      • It should be noted that even the Sith themselves violate or weasel their way around the Rule of Two every now and then. Darth Maul was alive at the same time as Dooku & Palpatine. They also have characters like Ventress who aren’t officially Sith Lords yet are trained just like one. So while it decreases their numbers by a lot, they find ways around even when they actually obey said rule.
    • Thirdly and finally, Sith who engage in too much evil and envelope themselves too deeply in the Dark Side often suffer from an inability to properly sense the Light Side. This alienation of the Light is what lead to the otherwise brilliant Palpatine's death. He alienated altruism and good so utterly that he was not only unable to sense Luke Skywalker's presence during a critical moment, but he was also unable to sense that his apprentice Darth Vader still had some morality in him. Thus he attempts to tortuously kill Luke and is killed himself when he fails to expect Vader to attack him out of paternal feelings.
  • The 'villains' of fringe-conspiracy theories would be stupid evil if they existed since their plans undermine their own power bases, have little to no tangible gain or draw attention by plastering their logo on everything. It's also weird that despite how cartoonishly evil they are thought of, they don't bother to kill anyone exposing the conspiracies while making it look like an accident. This is probably because there is some overlap with the Strawman characters.