Villainous Overview

The Wicked Witches

Wicked Witches

I think you meddlers must be taught a lesson in witchcraft.
~ The Swamp Witch confronting the Mystery, Inc. gang for trespassing on her territory.

Wicked Witches refers to famed archetype of villainess which involves magic and popularized by TV Tropes.



Arguably the most famous of all female villains, Wicked Witches are a common trope in the fantasy, fairy tale, and horror genres. While there are plenty of witches in stories who are good, stories often feature witches who use their powers for evil.

Origin of The Term

Although the concept of evil witches was popularized by TV Tropes and the Wizard of Oz tale (the latter through its main villainess Wicked Witch of the West whose appearance in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz became staple of storyboom witches), it has actually existed since antiquity, long before TV Tropes site was created, whereas malicious witches were women who in league with The Devil or other dark entities via a pact in exchange of great power, more benevolent ones are simply natural healers or so-called "wise women" whose choice of profession was misunderstood. Also, unlike in popular culture, real-life witches presented themselves as unassuming, ordinary women at the very least.

The idea of wicked witches became widespread in Europe during the mid-1400s as the result of superstition-driven hysteria and other factors such as the Black Plague, triggering a series of witch hunts. Many people at that time, especially women, were persecuted for a variety of wicked behaviors or perceived to be harbinger of misfortune. Despite the heat of witch hunts has long ended in most parts of the world nowadays, the fear witches inspired to everyone at that time became one of inspirations for the concept of Wicked Witches we know today.


Wicked Witches are villainesses who use the power of the dark arts to carry out their evil plans. Some are driven by power-hungry rage, greed, and often seek revenge against those who crossed them in the past (usually centuries or millennia ago). Wicked Witches come across as tyrants, liars, con artists, thieves, murderesses, kidnappers, cannibals, child killers, curse-bearers and man-eaters.

Although the most common image of the wicked witch is a scary crone with a pointy hat riding a broomstick, these witches can take the shape of beautiful women and/or turn themselves into animals at will.

Some of most famous examples are The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, the Witches' Grand High Witch, Ursula from Disney's The Little Mermaid, Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and the Witch from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.

Whether they are bestowing ancient evil curses on the innocent or using candy to lure children into their hands, these witches continue to inspire storytellers and terrify audiences for generations to come.

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