Transitioning to evil by killing family members or loved ones
August 17, 2017 10:27 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know examples of characters from any kind of media who, in becoming truly evil, killed a family member, loved one, or good friend? For example, Voldemort killed his father, Darth Vader killed Padme -- stuff like that. A bonus would be that the villain has magical or supernatural powers. Thanks!
posted by mrmanvir to Society & Culture (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a few of these, applying to characters who have become vampires. Angel is supposed to have killed his entire family, including his father. Spike kills his mother.

In Macbeth, Macbeth's decisions to murder Duncan, Macduff, and Banquo are important transition points for him. These are not murders of family but the play emphasises the personal relationship of loyalty between Macbeth and Duncan and the close friendship between Macbeth amd Banquo.

In We Need to Talk About Kevin, Kevin begins his slide into evil by first harming and then killing his own family members before going on to mass murder.
posted by Aravis76 at 10:55 PM on August 17, 2017

Lex Luthor killed his dad on Smallville.
posted by xyzzy at 11:47 PM on August 17, 2017

Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino. It was also made into a TV series. The vengeful girl character killed her mother and manipulated the son of her molester to fall in love with her and commit crimes for her.
posted by southlanecherry at 12:43 AM on August 18, 2017

((Once Upon a Time Spoilers))

Regina killed her father to curse Snow White and the whole town to live in Maine.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:10 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Commodus in Gladiator. Norman Bates in Psycho. Cathy Ames from East of Eden, Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers,

In some films and shows its a theme: several James Bond villains off their fathers, practically every character who turns bad in Once Upon a Time (before I got bored and stopped watching it anyway) killed a parent and most of the antagonists in early seasons Supernatural turned evil after killing family: Bela, Gordon, half the ghosts at least.
posted by fshgrl at 1:24 AM on August 18, 2017

Henry VIII killed Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, Catherine Howard...
posted by glasseyes at 2:18 AM on August 18, 2017

There's a bit in I Claudius, book and tv series, where Caligula disembowels his pregnant sister in order to become Jove-like
posted by glasseyes at 2:26 AM on August 18, 2017

Medea (at least in some versions of her story)
posted by Mchelly at 4:23 AM on August 18, 2017

Does Medea count? I never read her as EVIL so much as driven mad by grief and abandonment.
posted by uberchet at 4:37 AM on August 18, 2017

Vortigern in Ritchie's King Arthur. He gained the power of lounging in armor and some magic to help him be evil.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:38 AM on August 18, 2017

Apologies if it spoils it for you, but that's essentially the pay-off of the excellent Ben Wheatley movie Kill List.
posted by bifter at 4:46 AM on August 18, 2017

Dr. Horrible in Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:52 AM on August 18, 2017

Vertigo comics' Papa Midnight killed his sister, sent her to hell, and whored her out to demons to gain power. Don't get much more evil and magical than that.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:21 AM on August 18, 2017

While being included in the "Patricide" trope doesn't necessarily mean that it was the impetus for turning evil, I would suspect that this TV Tropes entry (and some of the linked ones like Murder in the Family or Offing the Offspring) will point you in the right direction.
posted by terilou at 6:30 AM on August 18, 2017

Keyser Söze allegedly killed his family when they were being held hostage.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:18 AM on August 18, 2017

You cite Darth Vader, but in Star Wars you also have Kylo Ren doing the I-guess-I'll-still-spoiler-protect thing he did.

In Mark Waid's Fantastic Four run, the already-evil Dr. Doom establishes himself as substantially more evil by killing/spiritually enslaving the love of his life, giving him magical powers to match his already-formidable technological ones.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:38 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lord of the Rings, Smeagol (Gollum) killed Deagol.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 8:21 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lex Luthor killed his dad on Smallville.


Richard III's arranging the murder of his nephews in the Tower can be taken as a turning point in his evil in the play.
posted by praemunire at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Darth Vader killed Padme
Darth Vader did not kill Padme. She died in childbirth.

His transition to evil starts when he massacres the sand people who killed his mother, and is really cemented when he kills the child trainee Jedis (the younglings). And he's not called Darth Vader until the next movie (although you see the suit).
posted by w0mbat at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Gerald Tarrant in Black Sun Rising/ Coldfire trilogy. Sacrificed his whole family for power/immortality. Major magical power held by the character.
posted by pearshaped at 1:53 PM on August 18, 2017

His dad deserved it but it was widely regarded at the time as Lex's final transforming act.
posted by xyzzy at 8:53 PM on August 18, 2017

Doesn't Oedipus count? Not sure if its evil qualifies. But definitely Badlands -- Kit's killing spree begins when he shoots Holly's father.
posted by Rash at 9:30 PM on August 18, 2017

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