I have mentioned this before to some of my friends. So here’s a compilation of links to various Evil Overlord Lists in case anyone else is interested.
Basically, the Lists are a compilation of various villain cliches and stupid mistakes that villains keep making. Those mistakes are generally the cause of their defeat, often by a hero who is more lucky than skilled/clever.
Peter’s Evil Overlord List: This is the most well-known one. First page gives the “top 100” and there are 2 expansions which put the total to >300 items.
Jack Butler’s Evil Overlord List: Also a very early list, but not so well-known.
TV Tropes page on the List: Included because it gives examples from all media.
Extended List: A long page that also includes Mecha-related items and advice for other characters: Henchmen, Heroes, Sidekicks, True Loves, etc.
Stupid Plot Tricks List: Similar to the above, but split into seperate pages. Also includes Murphy’s Laws of Combat for military issues and Movie cliches.
My own comments
Item 4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
Star Wars is especially guilty of violating rule #4 twice in exactly the same way. In Episode II, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme are sentenced to execution by giant monsters. So the 3 heroes kill or tame the monsters instead of getting eaten. In Episode VI, Luke is also tossed into a pit with a giant monster, which he kills. Since Jedi have been around for ages in the Star Wars galaxy, why do villains never learn the rule “don’t throw Jedi to giant monsters, it never works”?
5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
Lord of the Rings definitely. Sauron didn’t even bother to hide the Ring and instead openly displayed it on his finger, so it got chopped off by a mere human with a sword in the movie prologue. Despite comments that the Ring “wants to be found” or “wants to return to its master”, it seemed to be OK with sitting around at the bottom of a cave (with Gollum) or hanging around the Shire (with Bilbo) for years.
25. No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.
Star Wars’ Death Star, both versions. A few missiles fired into an exhaust port, and one Sith Lord thrown down an open hole is enough to destroy both.
Lord of the Rings again. The borders of Mordor are well-guarded, but Mount Doom doesn’t seem to have any guards at all. Sauron, you are one of the most over-hyped, incompetent Evil Overlords ever.