10 Scary Mythological Villains in Fantasy TV Shows

There are several reasons why mythological villains are often featured in fantasy TV shows. One reason is that these villains are often larger than life, with supernatural powers and abilities that make them formidable opponents for the heroes. This makes for exciting and dramatic storytelling, as the heroes must use all of their skills and resources to overcome these powerful foes.

Another reason is that these villains often have deep roots in mythology and folklore, making them familiar and compelling to audiences. Many of these villains are based on archetypes and themes that have been part of human storytelling for centuries, such as the idea of the trickster or the embodiment of evil. By drawing on these mythological and folkloric traditions, fantasy TV shows can tap into universal themes and resonances that audiences find compelling.

Everyone loves a good villain, and with good reason. The best baddies serve as challenging foes to the story’s protagonists, both in a physical and thematic sense. With the right actor to bring them to life, they remain in the hearts and minds of audiences for years to come.

The fantasy genre is no stranger to good villains, especially in television shows. Be they recurring antagonists or gone after one episode, many villains have left their mark thanks to how terrifying they are, either through their powers and actions or what they represent in the show’s mythology.

1 The Weird Sisters ‘Gargoyles’ (1994-1997)

When Oberon (Terrence Mann) declared that his children must spend time among humanity, he tasked three sisters named Phoebe, Selene, and Luna (Kath Soucie) with safeguarding the island of Avalon. They did so until they were banished by the Magus (Jeff Bennet), who arrived with Princess Cathryn and a host of gargoyle eggs. Enraged at this humiliation, the sisters allied with an evil Archmage (David Warner), working for thousands of years to reclaim their home.

The threat of the Weird Sisters comes from their timeless nature and magic powers. They don’t have the same sense of morality as others: manipulating the lives of mortals, or even directly mind-controlling them, is a justifiable means to an end of reclaiming their home. Being immortals, they have all the time in the world, and defeat is merely a temporary setback.

2 Azazel ‘Supernatural’ (2005-2020)

A demon from hell, Azazel, or the Yellow-Eyed Demon, was one of the most fanatical followers of Lucifer. Following his master’s imprisonment, Azazel traveled the Earth to try and free him to start the apocalypse. He also began shaping the destiny of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki), which involved killing his mother and girlfriend.

It’s natural to expect a demon to enjoy the suffering of others, but Azazel took this up to eleven. He takes sick pleasure in toying with his victim’s emotions, making them feel hopeless before finally taking their life. His arrogance is also the perfect level of smugness where you both hate to see him but hate it more when he leaves.

3 Hama ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (2005-2008)

Born in the Southern Water Tribe, Hama (Tress MacNeille) and her fellow waterbenders were captured by the Fire Nation to be tortured and imprisoned. During this time, Hama realized that all living things have water within them, which she could use to escape. Years later, she continues to practice bloodbending by imprisoning Fire Nation civilians in a mountain cave to be tortured like she was.

Hama’s power to control people’s bodies is gruesome to behold, with their limbs jerking forward like puppets on a string. But what’s truly terrifying about her is her lack of remorse for others. She sees nothing wrong with punishing innocents for the actions of their soldiers and forces waterbending protégé Katara (Mae Whitman) to learn bloodbending to pass on her teachings.

4 Aredian ‘Merlin’ (2008-2012)

When Merlin’s (Colin Morgan) magic is accidentally seen, King Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head) calls for Aredian the Witchfinder (Charles Dance) to root out any hidden sorcerers. Aredian began his work immediately, especially when he learned that Uther’s court physician was Gaius (Richard Wilson), a known sorcerer who gave up practicing magic. Not willing to let him escape again, Aredian plants evidence and uses brutal interrogation tactics to convict Gaius.

Though he lacks any magic, Aredian proves himself to be one of the most dangerous foes in Merlin. His interrogation methods get inside his victim’s heads, causing them to reveal incriminating evidence without meaning to. He was also well-trained in his profession and nearly exposed Merlin and Morgana’s (Katie McGrath) connection to magic.

5 Ramsay Snow ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011-2019)

The bastard son of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), enjoys reminding people why the flayed man is the Bolton sigil. While his father plays the long game, Ramsay enjoys torturing and tormenting those that fall into his hands. Only his father can keep Ramsay’s sadistic tendencies in check, and even that has its limits when he feels his position is threatened.

Game of Thrones had plenty of memorable villains, but Ramsay was set apart thanks to how truly evil he was. His torture methods broke his victim’s bodies and minds by playing mind games to lure them into a false sense of security before taking away whatever they held dearest. By the end, his victims would beg him to end their suffering.

6 Orgalorg ‘Adventure Time’ (2010-2018)

Wherever the Ice King (Tom Kenny) goes in the land of Ooo, he is often accompanied by his faithful penguin manservant, Gunter (Tom Kenny). Unknown to him, Gunter is an ancient, eldritch entity called Orgalorg. Though currently trapped in penguin form, a head injury causes Oralorg’s personality to resurface and resume its quest to absorb the all-powerful Catalyst Comet.

Even before the reveal, Gunter showed signs of being different from the other penguins, such as when he used some of the Ice King’s magic in the episode “Reign of Gunters.” The reveal offered Adventure Time another chance to dip into cosmic horror with the implications of such all-powerful beings. It’s just too bad that Orgalorg’s appearances were limited and his defeat too quick.

7 Sol Regem ‘The Dragon Prince’ (2018-)

Once the king of the dragons, Sol Regem’s (Adrian Hough) reign saw the humans of Xadia unlock Dark Magic to put them on par with the naturally magical elves and dragons. When the mage Ziard (Brian Drummond) refused to give up his magic staff, Sol Regem threatened to burn the human city of Elarion. Ziard managed to blind Sol Regem, forcing him to abdicate his throne.

The centuries since his blinding have only served to stoke the fires of Sol Regem’s hatred for humanity. He views them as lesser beings trying to rise above their station and won’t hesitate to kill any he encounters. This makes Sol Regem an interesting display of the sin of wrath, especially when he threatens to kill the dragon prince to get at the human mage, Callum (Jack De Sena).

8 Iofur Raknison ‘His Dark Materials’ (2019-2022)

In an alternate reality to ours, there lives a race of intelligent bears called the panserbjørne, known for being able to forge their own armor. Their rightful king, Iorek Byrnison (Joe Tandberg), was banished for killing a rival, so Iofur Raknison (Peter Serafinowicz) rules. However, Iofur secretly poisoned Iorek’s rival with the aid of the human, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson), to ensure his kingship and the imprisonment of Coulter’s rival, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy).

Aside from the fact that he is a giant talking polar bear, the terror that Iofur inspires comes from his intelligence. He thinks more like a human than a bear, keeping secrets and hatching plans rather than dealing with a problem directly. While this makes him cunning, it also makes him desperate to emulate human culture, which is a fitting lesson about trying to be something you are not.

9 The Hunter ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ (2019)

In the world of Thra, a race of immortal bird-like creatures called the Skeksis rule from their palace-like decadent emperors. That is, except for SkekMal (Ralph Ineson), known as the Hunter. While his brethren enjoy a life of luxury, the Hunter stalks the wilds of Thra, testing himself against beasts and only returning to the castle to receive orders.

Centuries of fighting for survival have left the Hunter physically changed from his fellow Skeksis. He moves swiftly in combat, leaping from trees as he pursues his prey with a single-minded determination. This is reflected in his puppetry, as he is the only Skeksis to be portrayed as a full-body puppet by Nick Kellington, Kevin Clash, and Ian Kay.

10 Umbrasyl ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ (2022-)

After liberating the city of Whitestone from the Briarwoods, Vox Machina is given no time to rest before four ancient dragons attack the capital city of Emon. They are forced to flee the city and seek powerful weapons to stop the dragons. Meanwhile, the black dragon, Umbrasyl (Matthew Mercer), is tasked by the red dragon, Thordak (Lance Reddick), to kill Vox Machina.

Though not the largest of the four dragons, Umbrasyl easily eclipses them in terms of personality and activity in Season 2. While he shares Thordak’s ambitions for ascension, he quickly realizes the artifacts’ power and makes it his mission to claim them from Vox Machina. His powers also help him stand out, from his acidic breath that can melt flesh and bone in seconds to his chameleon-like skin that can turn him invisible.

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Stevie Flavio
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