This article is about the fictional character. For the character trope see Fantasy tropes and conventions

The Lord of Darkness also known as the Dark Lord or simply Darkness is a fictional character from the 1985 fantasy film Legend by Ridley Scott. He is a demonic being who appears to be the son of the Devil and plans to plunge the world into eternal darkness but his plans are complicated when he becomes infatuated with the heroine, Princess Lily. He is played by noted British actor Tim Curry who has a history of playing film villains.

Fictional character history[]

Like most dark gods and evil overlords, the Lord of Darkness is obsessed with world domination. His origins are never explained but it is known he was responsible for a great war many years ago which he lost, the result of which was him being banished to the heart of a forest where he resides in a palace that consists of a hollow tree. The terms of the Dark Lord's exile are not known but they do not seem to have a restricting effect on his powers.

Although he is immortal, Darkness is vulnerable to sunlight so he attempts to plunge the world into a Neverending Age of Darkness by killing the unicorns, the two most pure and beautiful creatures in the world where the story takes place. Although his henchmen, the Goblins fail to kill the unicorns, they do manage to cut the horn off one which has a dramatic effect on the universe, causing a violent storm.

Darkness is displeased and instructs his minions to capture the unicorn and bring it to him so that he can kill it in person. They do so. They also abduct Lily, princess of the Elves and bring her to Darkness who finds himself falling in love with the princess. Disturbed by his affections for Lily the Dark Lord goes to his father who appears to be Satan. Although we as the audience do not see his father, we here his voice emenating from a fire-place which Darkness sits in front of. Atop the fireplace is a bronze statue of the Archangel Michael defeating Satan.

Darkness's father instructs his son to seduce the princess and bring her to the side of evil. Darkness makes an attempt to do so and confronts Lily in his throne-room where he has prepared a banquet for her. Lily is initially terrified and passes out at the frightening sight of the Dark Lord but when she returns to consciousness she is more courageous and insults Darkness who laughs mockingly but when she spurns his amorous advances he flies into a rage. Lily is frightened and feigns affection for the Lord of Darkness, asking for the favour of killing the unicorn. Thinking that he has succeeded in charming the princess, Darkness rejoices.

The following evening, the Dark Lord stands in a great chamber at the heart of his Hollow Tree Palace with the unicorn chained down in front of him before the gates to the Eternal Void. Darkness's plan is to kill the unicorn and send its soul into the Void which, fuelled by the unicorn's power will engulf the world which will be plunged into eternal night and become the Dark Lord's kingdom. Darkness then hands Lily a great knife with which to slay the unicorn. Meanwhile the main character, Jack (Tom Cruise) along with the fairy prince Gump, has infiltrated the fortress and arranged a series of shields around it which will reflect the light of the rising sun into the palace, thus killing Darkness. Instead of killing the unicorn, Lily cuts its bonds, freeing it. In a rage, Darkness strikes the Elfin Princess down, incapacitating her. Believing her to be dead, Jack draws his sword and charges into battle with the evil lord who proves an impressive swordman and exhibits the ability to shoot fire-projectiles from his fingertips. Although Jack is evidently a skilled fighter, he is no match for Darkness's immense physical strength and prowess and is disarmed however he has armed himself with the unicorn's horn which Darkness's minions cut from the unicorn earlier in the film. Jack throws the horn at the Dark Lord and it embeds itself in his heart. Howling in pain, Darkness drops his sword as the sun rises and is reflected into the palace by the shields which have been set in place by Gump. The rays of sunlight strike the Dark Lord and the gates to the Void open. Darkness is sucked into the Void but seizes onto the walls of the gateway and clings on with his claws. Jack then picks up his sword and advances on the Dark Lord who rants that as long as he is feared he will never be destroyed. Jack ignores him and strikes him with the sword, sending the Lord of Darkness plummeting into the Void which then promptly closes. At the end of the film however Darkness's evil laughter can be heard before the credits roll, insinuating that he is still alive.


Darkness is arrogant and proud and holds most beings beside himself in contempt. He gives off an aura of cold calculation but is quick to lose his temper if he doesn't get his way. Beneath his callous exterior, he is a very tortured and tormented individual. He finds anything good and pure repellant and the light of the sun is an agony to him which is why he is so shocked when he falls in love with Lily. Darkness's father speculates that it is her innocence and radiance that attracts Darkness to her because it stands in contrast to the blackness of his own soul. Darkness's true passionate nature is reflected in his tendency to shout his words when excited or enraged. Although he initially appears to genuinely love Lily, it is more probable that he just lusts after her as shown by him striking her in fury at the climax of the film.


It is held by popular fan lore that Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that his popular game series The Legend of Zelda was inspired by Legend. However, this cannot be substantiated and is generally held to be apocryphal. As such there are also claims that the character of Ganon was based on the Lord of Darkness.

At Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights, Darkness was featured twice.

The Lord of Darkness was featured in a gag during an episode of Family Guy.

See also[]

  • Legend (film)
  • Satan
  • Ganon

External links[]