I am not, as I have said before, an inherently political person. I have opinions, but there are only certain debates I feel comfortable getting into. But I have learned, maybe this is just the nature of the fiction I partake of, to be exceptionally suspicious of the ruling bodies therein, especially the ones who say that they are doing things for the good of their citizens. They might think they are, even, but I tend toward skepticism nonetheless, because it almost never ends well.
6. The s2-current and recent past political crowd of King’s Landing (Game of Thrones and also the books)
Because I don’t think anyone’s pretending that Robert (Mark Addy) was exactly aces as a king, and Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is so very much not a good king. And while the others are interesting, and some of them like Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) actually know what they’re doing sort of, and some of them like Cersei (Lena Headey) are cool in an antagonist way, and some of them like Ned (Sean Bean) had good intentions, it’s a mess. Political crowd: actual rulers, those on the council, others. Also, I am inherently suspicious of any group of thinkers that Baelish (Aidan Gillen) is a part of, because he is interesting and maybe reading more will change my opinion, but right now he just makes me uncomfortable.
5. The Watcher’s Council (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
There’s a reason, after all, that Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) disowned them. I like to imagine a nicer world where the Council could be this cool thing where people who aren’t Slayers but are dedicated to fighting supernatural evil an really like books and whatnot could band together to help Slayers do their thing, but that isn’t the way of it in canon. The Council is controlling and generally not with the times, these or any other; they’re more concerned with the superficial acceptability of circumstances than the reality of what the Slayers do, and that’s not helpful.
4. The Authority (True Blood)
I think I’ve made this point plenty of times, no? Even before season 5, when all we really knew of them was Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) and a group of vampires sitting before a screen with their backs to us, the Authority seemed ominous. The sitting before a screen thing is actually not unlike the SHIELD board in The Avengers (they are not on this list because I don’t know enough about them to discuss them beyond this mention, but I’m sure they very well could be did I know more) and tends to be a good visual representation of, again, those who are Not With The Times. They’re detached from the reality of their constituents. And as season 5 teaches, yep, the Authority is very much that. Nora (Lucy Griffiths) says as much, and while she probably was being snarky because of her at-that-point secret Lilith thing, it was an apt observation. Roman (Christopher Meloni) was so focused on an ideal that he wasn’t 100% dealing with what was actually being done, and then it all went to Lilith hell and they were all wonky because of that. So, kind of a lose-lose.
3. Rossum (Dollhouse)
I should also clarify something: Rossum, like Angel‘s Wolfram and Hart, is a company. Yes. Rossum is on this list and Wolfram and Hart isn’t because (I still don’t know all of the ways that Wolfram and Hart is heinous yet and) Rossum canonically infiltrates the government, i.e. their world’s technical ruling body. And then they start an apocalypse and preside over that. Starting a full-blown apocalypse so you have a sad little hill (or, you know, whole world) to be the sad little king of is one of the lowest possible things you can do. And that’s what it basically comes down to with them.
2. The Ministry of Magic (Harry Potter)
The distrust of the Ministry is established pretty early overall, and it just gets worse and worse. These guys are easily corruptible, they’re highly fallible, they’re highly shallow, and eventually, they get pretty malicious. It’s a fairly convoluted issue, the Ministry (or rather the British Ministry; other countries have Ministries of Magic too, but they don’t get much discussed), so if you want, here’s the wiki page. Half of the items on this list are Whedonverse, because there is an innate distrust of ruling groups in Whedonverse mythologies, but I think it’s interesting that overall, this distrust spans a reasonable range of fantasy/sci-fi subgenres. Fake medieval times, technology issues, vampire issues (on both sides), magic issues, future governments. Network TV, epic series novels, cable TV, novels for adults and novels that at least started as being for children. It’s found in many places.
1. The Alliance (Firefly/Serenity)
These guys get to be number one because they hit every single reason that other items are on this list. They’re an evil government, they meddle, they directly and adversely affect the lives of characters, they are the sole overarching antagonist of their canon, they have many sub-contracting evildoers involved, they don’t start an apocalypse per se but they are responsible for the creation of evil space zombies, they do start a war. They are the essential questionable ruling body.
–your fangirl heroine.