Top Five Tuesday: Worst Rulers in Fantasy

For this week’s Top Five Tuesday, Bionic Book Worm has asked us to talk about the WORST rulers we’ve read about.  There are a couple ways to define “worst” ruler – I’m going to focus on the despots, the tyrants, the evil lords who need to be overthrown because they are the WORST.  And because it’s Wyrd and Wonder, I’m keeping all of my selections in the fantasy space.  So let’s start talking about some truly terrible people, shall we?

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Julius Scaeva – THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLES by Jay Kristoff
You know what’s worse than an evil ruler?  A CHARISMATIC evil ruler.  And that’s what you get with Julius Scaeva, the man who convinced a Republic to give him emergency powers “just until things stabilize,” and then kept right on ruling.  He knows how to manipulate the public so they think he’s their savior and is constantly one step ahead of those who oppose him.

Empress Su Daji – THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang
An immortal being who happily drives her country to war and kills underlings to keep a secret, the Empress (or Vipress, as she is also known) is a terrible person who also wields the power of a god.  Not a great combination.  She also, unfortunately, has some great points when she argues that some of the “good guys” are no better than herself when it comes to tactics and goals.

Commandant Keris Veturia – AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir
The “ruler” of Blackcliff academy where Elias and Helene initially train, and a woman who is one of the ruling elite of the empire, Keris is malicious and vindictive, and will destroy entire households to punish a single person.  Oh, and she’s Elias’s mom. Seriously, this woman is a plague on humanity and a truly evil person.

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The Maha – EMPIRE OF SAND by Tasha Suri
There’s a lot wrong with the Maha.  He corrupts magic to strengthen his empire and live forever.  He has a group of fanatics so in love with him, when he mistreats him they believe they must absolutely deserve it for something they do wrong.  And he has hunted an entire people to extinction, magically enslaving the few survivors so that they have no choice but to obey his every command. A real winner, right?

Hilo Kaul – JADE WAR
This might be a bit controversial a pick, but Hilo is a terrible person to be heading the No Peak clan.  He’s hot-headed and best suited to work as an enforcer, not the person making decisions that will affect not only his clan, but international relations as well.  Plus, he did something in JADE WAR I can never ever forgive him for, so he’s off my Christmas Card list.

So which rulers do you absolutely despise?

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