Angst Lords

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The source of their power?

The term Angst Lords refers to those Daria fan authors whose works are consistently or especially dark, pessimistic, or tragic (i.e., angst). Despite an ongoing belief that a writer is designated as an Angst Lord, the reality is that a specific writer is in fact recognized as such by others of that ilk for their specific works, which need not necessarily be limited to the area of fan fiction. (An example of this is the former fanfic critic CINCGREEN; were he still active in the fandom in this capacity, he would probably have been recognized as an Angst Lord).

The originator of the term 'Angst Lords' is currently unknown, and other Angst Lords have simply not thought about passing along the title to date. When the term first appeared in the Daria fandom, it was used as a term of derision towards writers of angst-based fiction. It is not known how the term came to garner the status/notoriety it has at present.

Current Angst Lords[edit]

The Style of an Angst Lord[edit]

Brother Grimace once gave an off-the-cuff description of the Angst Lords, based on their writing styles and preferences for story outcomes. These descriptions are:

  • Angelinhel – The Narrator of The Twilight Zone
  • Brother Grimace – ‘Q’
  • cyde - TBA
  • Gregor Samsa - TBA
  • Hey – Kyp Durron
  • Nightgoblyn - the Evil Aaron Spelling
  • Renfield – the Custodian of the Total Perspective Vortex
  • Scissors – Cthuhlu’s Last Bite of Dinner
  • The Angst Guy – The Watcher

Unrecognized Angst Lords?[edit]

There are a number of writers who also have written angst-based works and are considered by some segments of the Daria fan community to also be Angst Lords. Some individuals have forwarded Devilkitty, a.k.a. C.L. Basso, as an Angst Lord because of his work, "Just the Sun at Night," and related stories in this cycle. This segment of fans believes that fic to be not only the angstiest fanfic ever written (as well as arguably the finest), and C.L. Basso to be not only the Father of Angst, but the Lord of All Angst Lords. That writer, however, retired from writing fanfic.

There are also rumors of one other writer in the Daria fandom who is also considered to be an Angst Lord, although this writer prefers to remain hidden. Known to most of the other Angst Lords as "The One," the writer is usually described as "he who carries a scarlet light saber up his sleeve."

Scarlet Lightsabers[edit]

A running joke among the writers seen as Angst Lords is that they (or their self-inserts within fanfic) carry lightsabers with scarlet-hued blades, thus symbolizing their connection to the Dark Side of Daria fanfic (much as Dark Jedi and Sith Lords carry scarlet-hued lightsabers within the Star Wars universe, as opposed to Light Side-aligned Jedi, who carry lightsabers usually of a bluish or green hue).

To carry it further, new Angst Lords are 'presented' with a lightsaber upon 'becoming an Angst Lord' (ex. Scissors MacGillicutty was given a lightsaber by Brother Grimace just before the initial posting of 'Where's Mary Sue When You Need Her?' and later presented it to cyde before setting out to craft a new one for himself.).

Other Angst Lord Iconography[edit]

Rather than a light saber, Gregor Samsa has a can of Plumtree's Potted Meat. While this may baffle some, they should recall that

What is a home without Plumtree's Potted Meat?
With it, an abode of bliss

—James Joyce, Ulysses

So it isn't that Gregor has a can of Plumtree's Potted Meat, but rather that he is depriving someone else somewhere of the bliss that could be theirs but for that can. And if that isn't angst, what is?

'Sometimes Unicorns Have To Die...'[edit]

This phrase first appeared due to an Iron Chef challenge sponsored by Angelinhel, which consisted of all comers welcomed to write a conclusion to the following piece:

Stacy Rowe was considered a mousy, quiet girl in high school. That all changed when she went to college and people were nice to her. She made lots of friends and even met a wonderful boy! As luck would have it he was rich and they fell in love and got married right after they both graduated with really good grades. Stacy's life was perfect. She had supportive friends and a loving family. Since they were rich, she spent her time helping the less fortunate and raising her kids. Yes, life was blissfully wonderful.

One day Stacy awoke to her picture-perfect world, devoid of any strife...

—Angelinhel, Iron Chef Challenge

In the following discussion that began on the nature of writing angst-based fiction, Angelinhel (addressing questions posed within another post) responded with the following:

Pretending bad things can't happen to good people doesn't make it any less a reality.

You shy away from things that make you hurt. You can't bear the pain of it and choose to hide behind the illusion innocence should stay untouchable.

I know there is too much destruction of the pure and that it will never cease. Instead of turning away from that harsh reality and weeping over the very idea such horror can exist, I force myself to stare into the blackest depths, knowing that if I can face it, the innocence might not have been sacrificed for nothing.

Sometimes unicorns have to die.


The phrase has a minor place in the lexicon of some fanfic writers as a symbolism of angst, or of angst in their works.


Angst and violence are neither mutually inclusive or exclusive, but rather the preference of the author. Some Angst Lords enjoy using subtle cues to allow the reader to create his or her own mental picture while others (such as cyde and The Angst Guy) are known to revel in horrifying bloodshed and gruesome details.