These vicious villains typically rule over their people through fear, oppression, cruelty and downright nastiness. They’re menacing, they’re daunting and imposing people in their own way – Sometimes through reputation, but often through physical violence or threats that even the most prestigious of world leaders wouldn’t be able to get away with. Cruelty is the name of the game in this weeks’ Top 10 Tyrants.
We took a little bit of liberty with the meaning behind a tyrant for this list. We took it to mean someone who rules over something; so it doesn’t have to be a definitive leader of a race, or over a land – They could rule over their peons in sweatshops, or over those who are their minor.
10) Kitano – Battle Royale
Sometimes a man gets so tired of the verbal abuse and shame, that he simply snaps. Although Kitano originally resigns from his position of teacher of the kids of Battle Royale, he decides to go back and teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget. Well, most will as they would be dead.
Insane, power hungry and with the backing of the BR Act, the Battle Royale Act, he takes the teenagers of his class out to an island, tagging every one of them with a collar. If any one of those kids step out of line, the collar explodes and he’s one less kid to worry about. Now, on to seeing over these kids through their duties: Kill one another, or be killed. This film is not for those who are a tad squeamish.
9) Havelock Vetinari – Discworld
Of course, a tyrant can work in the best interests of the people as well as ruling through fear, death, and creative cruelty. The Patricianship of the twin cities Ankh and Morpork is a duty passed on to nominees voted in by the associated guilds after the former Patrician is assassinated. Trained assassin Havelock Vetinari relieved Mad Lord Snapcase of his position, and since then has brought the guilds to heal, organised and legitimised crime, kept an insane artist and inventor prisoner (by putting him in a room he’d never want to leave) and appointed a thief and conman to preside over Ankh Morpork’s most prestigious institutions, the post office and the mint.
Most alarming of all is that the city is so much better off with him terrorising everyone into status quo than without him. His every action has improved the quality of life for every Morporkian who didn’t happen to disappear around the time they’d spoken with him. Not only that, but as the world’s most powerful and influential ruler he has prevented many a global disaster and ended wars that span generations by assuring the right man is in the right place, which suggests that the right man is currently in the right place.
8) Lemongrab – Adventure Time
Alone in this list is the only tyrant who eats his subjects. The Earl of Lemongrab is the creation of Princess Bubblegum, he is as sour as his name would suggest, and lives in the insular Earldom of Lemongrab since his attempt to usurp the Princess on a legal technicality failed. Behind the walls of Lemongrab the lemon people suffer and starve, while he grows corpulent on meagre feasts and the flesh of his children.
His voice is an agonised screech (a real pain for voice actor and creator Pendleton Ward), his rule is oppressive and jealous. No one may enter, no one may leave, all must abide by his erratic whims, and any sliver of hope is eradicated. Lemongrab has gone through many an incarnation in his chaotic life, and while there are fleeting moments where it seems there may be more to him than meets the eye, he rapidly descends back into aloofness and delusional insanity. Insanity in Adventure Time is particularly freaky.
7) Doctor Doom – Marvel
Thanks to two atrocious films, the most notorious Fantastic 4 antagonist is rather misunderstood by those who do not look deeper. Lesser known is the country between Serbia, Romania and Hungary which he rules as absolute dictator (although he prefers “enforced monarchy”) through his superior technology and willingness to destroy any and all opposition. The military force not only ensures Doom’s absolute rule, but also as the country’s secret police, as if the enforcement of the Doombots weren’t enough to keep the populous at bay.
Victor Von Doom is a supervillain, his country thrives because of him alone, his people on the other hand live fearful lives, and yet they are safer under his despotic rule without the interference of the United States or superheroes, who have inadvertently installed far more bloodthirsty rulers, and brought disaster upon Latveria. Better the rule of the iron fist of Doom, than the ham fist of S.H.I.E.L.D.
6) The Administrator/Helen – Team Fortress 2
Fans of Valves shooter will be well aware of Helen. She often goes under the name of The Administrator, where she barks commands from an unknown location at the people of teams Red and Blu respectively. But did you know she was also in charge at TF Industries?
The same TF Industries who makes Red and Blu fight one another. The same TF Industries who fund the ridiculous research into the weapons, the intel and so on. Helen is viciously brutal, demoralising to her teams if they do bad, only excited by seeing people die. She’s a bit of a brute, but she’s also the voice of Team Fortress 2.
5) President Corialanus Snow – The Hunger Games
No surprises here, generally speaking President Snow is considered the benchmark for lunatic dictators these day due to the popularity of the Hunger Games film series and his superb portrayal by Donald Sutherland. The tale is a fairly interesting analysis into the power of public perception and propaganda, and into class division, but what everyone remembers most about Snow is how he helped propagate the celebration of a failed rebellion against his office (before he held it) by making sport of forcing teenagers to kill one another.
Oh sure, the Hunger Games may be a near-perfect rip off of Battle Royal, but Corialanus Snow is a fascinating central figure, one who attracted far more attention in his series by his cold and calculated manipulation of media, and terrible gravitas. Ultimately it would be by the same methods that he would be overthrown, a war fought on his own battlefield, but even he knew that his death was no victory.
4) Lord Business – The Lego Movie
Quick spoiler warning for anyone who has not yet seen the Lego Movie repeatedly.
The worst rulers would offer their citizens a fate worse than death: hideous, unchanging permanence. President Business is the elected leader of the whole Lego world, but his people are actually quite happy living their repetitive lives, watching boring TV shows, wearing the same thing day-in day-out and generally abiding by the instructions. The instructions will make you happy.
Not everyone is happy of course, and the Master Builders are on a mission to bring chaos, freedom, and creativity to President Business’s perfect order. When he reveals himself as the evil Lord Business, he brings the Master Builders to their knees with his robot army and swarm of Micromanagers, with which he intends to superglue everyone into place, exactly as he wants them, never moving, changing, or rebelling. This guy just does not get Lego.
3) Doctor Breen – Half Life 2
It’s a common trait for a good tyrant that many have faceless and/or militaristic police forces, better yet both! Breen’s police are absolutely both, and under his administration the enforcement of curfews, quarantine zones, and a suppression field that blocks human fertility, said police aren’t much more than a nuisance. Civilisation is collapsing under his rule, and he remains a tyrant despite being the voice of humanity’s conquerors, his “Breencasts” are eloquently worded propaganda, sweetening the bitter pill of extinction.
Much like our other Valve entry in this list, he too was originally known only as the Administrator, back in Half Life 1. His bargain struck at the end of the Seven Hour War positioned him at the top of his doomed species, like a judas goat: life at the cost of freedom.
2) Andrew Ryan – Bioshock
We just couldn’t ignore Andrew Ryan, which isn’t a surprise as he makes you remember him. He might not be at the forefront of the story, but he’s certainly making waves from behind the scenes. Andrew is a very cunning, sly observational and persuasive individual. The man who made the line “Would you kindly” even more sinister than it could ever be, Ryan is a man who is to be feared; even if you never see him yourself.
Andrew was obsessed with making people do things – but he would always put on a bravado of sorts. Having been the father to the player character, Jack, when the two were forced to meet, Ryan was incensed in proving that he had ultimate control over his creation. However, that didn’t go according to plan, as Jack was able to overcome such immense mind control from the truest political manipulator in our bunch. However, that didn’t mean he was done there, as in Ryans words: “What separates a man from a slave? Power? Money? No, a man chooses and a slave obeys.” With that, Ryan commands Jack to do something that Jack cannot prevent.
1) Darth Sidious – Star Wars
We would barely be able to call ourselves geeks if we didn’t at least consider Darth Sidious. The Emperor himself, this is a man so hellbent on overthrowing the Jedi, that he doesn’t care how many masquerades he has to perform. Truly a man of theatrics, Sidious is downright evil.
Literally, he seems to be evil for evils sake, but this is no trouble. This man sparked civil wars for his actions, he was also in charge of many peoples deaths – those who he didn’t feel were needed would simply be sent out to these wars. Gaining total control over the republic meant that the Jedi were more or less wiped out – and then the republic were turned into the galactic empire. Based on the one hand entirely on fear, on the other hand entirely on respect, Sidious is a man who you know to never cross. Ultimately, it took an insider to be the one to end up taking out the unreasonable power that Sidious commanded.
Ah yes, the most vicious emperor of the galaxies is our number one slot for this week. We couldn’t say no to him and his evil ways, but of course, he’s not alone. There are more tyrants than we could shake a stick at… Lest we get thwapped by the same stick. Nevertheless, here are two more, ahem, “tyrants” that we couldn’t help but throw a nod to.
Tyrunt – Pokemon
Haha, Tyrunt, tyrant… haha…
Ah, you got us. We kinda clutched at straws with this one, but this baby dinosaur does mean business when it’s stopped having temper tantrums. Tyrunt evolves into one heck of a beast, which is a relatively viable option for competitive play.
Whether you would give into its adorable looks or if you feel it’s far too simple for our list of Tyrunt, you would be best to stay away from this Pokémon and it’s evolved form when it’s throwing a fit. It’s taken out mightier prey than you!
Mr. McMahon – WWE
I make no secret about it: I absolutely love pro wrestling and the characters and stories behind it. The people who make the business are some of the most intriguing and compelling baddies ever to be portrayed on our television screens – even if they were being body slammed by Donald Trump back in the day.
Vincent Kennedy McMahon is best known on our screens as Mr. McMahon, or just Vince. He’s fired many people, just because of how they look or act. He’s fired former champions like John Cena who always manages to return. I am sure he’s fired his own children before too. Basically, this guy does what he wants, when he wants.
Because you’ve got no chance in hell!
Put down your weapons, ladies and gentlemen – You’ve been commanded! Do as I say and make sure you stick around and put a vote up for next weeks’ Top 10. Whilst I’m telling you to do this, I am keen to mention that this is still a democracy, so whatever wins will win for sure. Just, make sure you pick the right one, okay?
That’s it for this week – Our leaders have now gone to bed, so we can all rest easy. But what did you make of our list for this week? Was Darth Sidious the right choice at number one, or did one of the others on our list deserve the slot? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.