The Knight of Cerebus

The Knight of Cerebus

Knights of Cerebus is a TV Tropes-popularized term to identify wrongdoers who creates a stark contrast by being played completely seriously, changing the tone of the story in the fiction where the said fiction supposedly a comedic or light-hearted media that normally portrayed antagonists/villains that merely a nuisance for everyone rather than an actual threat.


Who are they and what made them apart with comedic villains/antagonists that pose less threat or merely annoyance to heroes/good guys?

To clarify, when a story portrays usually bumbling, comedic or incompetent villains, or even villains who despite posing a credible threat still have comedic moments where these resulting those kinds of villains would be easily dispatched by heroes, those whom proved to be a Knight of Cerebus, proved to be very competent, deadlier, sometimes even frightening, and their presence would brought the dark outcome over the story, ranging from affecting heroes or other good guys' character developement of worse, cataclysmic events. Even episodes/chapters featuring them focus on the seriousness and drama and not on humor.

Requirements for a villain to be a Knight of Cerebus

A villain can only considered as a Knight of Cerebus if he/she fulfilled these requirements:

  1. They are hardly if ever comedic. Of course there are very rare exceptions namely if their gimmick is that of a clown or a jester in which that is simply part of their gimmick itself. This cannot distract or lighten the mood.
  2. This is not simply a dark character. It has to be of an unheard level, like a serial killer in My Little Pony or similar very lighthearted media.
  3. There are very few if any of these within a story or said media, and if you have had one it is much harder to have another one later due to a couple of reasons. After one is introduced, it is harder for another villain to standout enough to truly count. The other reason is that the audience in general isn't as easily shocked and at times even expect more like them.
  4. This villain type must ultimately contrast to the current setting of the story, and their very presence darken it as a result. This feels strange and is previously unheard of within the setting.

It is true that it is not always the case for a Knight of Cerebus to be a dark character, but the chance that some of them wind up become a notorious force to be reckoned with (which sometimes so notorious that simply mentioned them by their name deemed to be taboo) is unmistakable. They would achieve this via commit heinous acts such as crossing e, destroying or corrupting innocent people, or other form of evil acts that instilled fear to everyone.


Two years have now passed, Chirin has changed from a determined lamb, into a fearsome beast.
~ The Narrator
So then Wolf I am no longer a weakling sheep instead of fangs I have horns which are just as sharp, my hooves are harder that the rock, and it has become my nature to fight without fear of death.
~ Chirin to the Wolf.
Alright, Ford. Time up! I've got the kids. I think I'm going to kill one of them now, just for the heck of it!
~ Bill Cipher.




​Western Animation


​Web Original