A Dark God is a common archetype found in fantasy settings - though similar beings can be found in other genres as well, it is especially common in a "Rage Against The Heavens" plot in which the hero(es) of a story must fight against the power of an evil and/or uncaring god (sometimes even God himself (see God as Satan) ).
Since there were no true gods of "evil" in mythology the usual candidates for Dark God status in modern tales are gods of the underworld or pagan deities of considerable fame - this can be confusing when looking at the older myths as many underworld deities were benevolent and/or amoral, it is theorized a lot of the negative traits of death-gods in the modern mind stems from the way death has become a symbol of evil while in the past it was (largely) considered a natural part of existence.
Trickster gods are also common candidates for this archetype and indeed in real-world mythology a number of trickster gods have shown traits that can be considered malevolent - such as Loki and some varieties of Coyote.
Dark Gods tend to be portrayed as keeping their divine status and role (unlike demons) and even though many Dark Gods display traits and powers associated with demons they are normally still in contact with other gods and have people who worship them: in some settings however the term "demon" can apply to fallen gods just as it traditionally applied to fallen angels.
Dark Gods In Fiction
- Loki (Marvel)
- Loki (Son of The Mask)
- Zeus (God of War)
- Zeus (Will Rock)
- God (Spawn)
- God (The Granton Star Cause)
- Hades (Kid Icarus)
- Medusa (Kid Icarus)
- Dark Kahn
- Lucifer (Dante's Inferno)
Dark Gods In Mythology
- Ares (in mythology Ares was not so much the god of war, but as the god of slaughter with all the negativity that came with it.)
- Hera (mother of the Olympian pantheon and consort to Zeus, she was infamous for her jealousy and tendency to curse anyone who angered her (in fairness to Hera most Olympians were just as petty as she was and much of her anger came from Zeus' abuse of power.) )
- Loki (the Norse trickster god is often considered a charming rogue - until his mischief-making causes him to cross the Moral Event Horizon and become, in essence, the Norse equivalent to Lucifer.)
- Zeus (although revered as the chief deity of the Olympian pantheon Zeus was infamous for his many abuses of power, which caused trouble between the gods and mortals - he was also instrumental in the creation of the Minotaur.)
- Cronus (the titan who fathered the Olympians is famous for his mad quest to stop Zeus from taking his throne - by devouring his own young.)
- Set (once a desert-god of Egypt, this infamous deity devolved into a hateful embodiment of chaos over the years.)