More (Mostly) Evil Green

Since my post on the way green-eyed characters are often evil, I’ve collected several more examples of the portrayal of green eyes in film and on screen, and the correlation of the color green in general with evil.

Possibly my favorite example of green-eyed character representation ever is Ceasar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

“There have been absolutely no side effects associated with One-Twelve. With one exception; for some reason the chimp’s irises exhibit flecks of green.”

[…later…]

“I maintain my hypothesis that A; the green in his eyes indicates that the A-L-Z-One-Twelve has passed genetically from mother to son. And B; that in the absence of damaged cells that need replacing, the drug in his system has radically boosted healthy brain functioning. And he plays chess pretty well.”

-scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Green eyes that represent superior intelligence?  I’ll take it!  But, the virus that causes the mutation in the apes is fatal to humans and will decimate the human population…minor drawback…

Ceasar’s green eyes signify his advanced intelligence in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Then you have the Hulk.  He’s a superhero, but this isn’t really a 100% positive green example, since the Hulk form is monstrous, a bit like Jekyl and Hyde.   Bruce Banner spends a lot of time trying to avoid Hulking out or regretting his Hulk actions and telling people they aren’t safe around him.  His eyes are not green normally, but they turn green when he’s about to turn into this rage machine.  So , ultimately it’s still green eyes=jealousy, anger, out-of-control evilness, it’s just that it’s channeled to useful purposes most of the time, hopefully.

Edward Norton’s otherwise blue eyes change to a dramatic green whenever he is about to turn into a rage-filled, irrational monster in The Incredible Hulk.

In the Chronicles of Narnia book The Silver Chair, there is a villain known as “the green lady.”  The book doesn’t say specifically that her eyes are green, (it doesn’t say what color they are), but I assume they are since the color green is so associated with her, and she is always described as wearing it.  **SPOILER ALERT**  Later, she not only imprisons the rightful prince and attempts to take over the kingdom, but she turns into a slithery green serpent and tries to kill the protagonists, so, yeah, this is a solid example of the color green signifying that the character is evil, evil, evil! **END SPOILER**

“And there they rested till it came to high noon: and at noon Drinian looked up and saw the most beautiful lady he had ever seen; and she stood at the north side of the fountain and said no word but beckoned to the Prince with her hand as if she bade him come to her.  And she was tall and great, shining, and wrapped in a thin garment as green as poison.  And the Prince stared at her like a man out of his wits.  But suddenly the lady was gone, Drinian knew not where; and they two returned to Cair Paravel.  It struck in Drinian’s mind that this shining green woman was evil.”  -excerpt from chapter 4, “A Parliament of Owls,” The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, (emphasis added).

The DC villain Poison Ivy is another example of an “evil” (or at least untrustworthy) green lady; I assume she has green eyes in the comics, she’s often depicted with green skin, and she definitely wears green or green ivy all of the time– (sometimes she doesn’t wear much else).   But the plant she’s named after is green, after all, so I don’t really begrudge this particular representation.  Still, it counts as another example of green=evil.

uma thurmon as poison ivy, plus three drawings in different comic styles of same character

Various depictions of the Poison Ivy character.

The Lannister family in the Song of Ice and Fire books are another example of the “evil green eyes” cliche.  I still haven’t gotten caught up on the series, but within pages of reading the description in A Game of Thrones of how Queen Cersei, her brother Jamie, and her son Joffrey had green eyes,  my suspicions that they would turn out to be sinister characters were proved extremely correct when they **SPOILER ALERT** pushed a child out a window because he saw them having incestuous relations, which it turns out is how Joffrey was conceived, and oh by the way Joffrey is a psychopath.  **END SPOILER**

“A jeweled tiara gleamed amidst her long golden hair, its emeralds a perfect match for the green of her eyes.” -description of Queen Cersei from A Game of Thrones.

Going right along with the “evil green eyes” stereotype, Tyrion Lannister has only one green eye while the other is black, and he is the sole member of the Lannister family that appears half-decent.  (But only half!  He’s still a Lannister, after all, with one green eye.)  However, book 2, (A Clash of Kings), introduced Jojen Reed, who also has green eyes, but is not evil.  In fact, his ability to dream prophetic visions is known as “greensight,” so that’s actually a very positive green-eye connotation!  (It’s worth noting that Jojen’s eyes are described as moss-green, while the Lannisters are said to have emerald green or bright green eyes.)  I’ll call the whole series even on the green-eyed representation.  And to be fair, in book three (A Storm of Swords) Jamie Lannister’s character started developing into a decent human being, and he still has both of his green eyes, while I pretty much completely forgot that I ever thought Tyrion was “evil” when I read book 2.  The characters have moved beyond their initial stereotyped starting points.

I used a picture of Loki in my last post on this subject, but didn’t talk about him.  I guess the only thing to say is to point out that the god of mischief’s depiction in Marvel comic books and movies is not only green-eyed, but his entire color scheme and wardrobe is green as well.  Loki is often conflicted and not 100% evil, but he’s definitely a “bad guy.”

And finally, while not actually a character, kryptonite is green.  The infamous (fictional) element that is Superman’s only weakness, and it had to be green.  Of course kryptonite isn’t evil by itself, but it’s always being used by Superman’s enemies to hinder or prevent his ability to rescue earth and innocent humans, so it definitely deserves to be mentioned when cataloging examples of “evil” green connotations in film and literature.

Superman struggles in the presence of kryptonite.

Can you think of any more examples of “evil” green or green eyes?  Or more positive green-eyed examples?  I’ll continue to keep my own green eyes sharp on the lookout.

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2 Comments

Filed under Books, movies

2 responses to “More (Mostly) Evil Green

  1. OH! How could I forget Green Lantern?! That’d be another positive…

  2. Pingback: Fictional Green Eyes, part 3 | pagelady

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