Eunuchs in popular culture
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Anime and manga
- In the Japanese anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (R2), the de facto rulers of the communist Chinese Federation comprise a group of eight eunuchs called "High Eunuchs".
- In the manga Red River, one of the main villains, Urhi, is a eunuch.
- The titular character of That Yellow Bastard (February–July 1996), a limited comic book series, the sixth in Dark Horse Comics' Sin City series, is a eunuch. (The series was adapted as a film, titled Sin City (2005), also known as Frank Miller's Sin City.)
- Eunuchs appear often as villains in Hong Kong kung fu and wuxia films set in ancient China. For example, the films Dragon Inn (Xin long men ke zhan), Butterfly and Sword (Xin liu xing hu die jian), and A Touch of Zen (Hsia nu) all feature a eunuch or a group of eunuchs as the main villain. A popular eunuch villain used in ancient China stories is Eunuch Wei, who is based on a historical figure named Wei Zhongxian. Eunuch villains are usually in charge of powerful political posts, such as being the leader of the East Chamber.
- In Mel Brooks's comedy History of the World, Part I (1981), under the section of "The Roman Empire", an entire scene is devoted to a joke about eunuchs, the length of African genitals, and the song, "Caldonia"; all rolled into one.
- The Last Emperor (1987), Bernardo Bertolucci.
- In the Disney animated film Mulan (1998), the character Chi-Fu is a royal advisor that has been attached to Captain Li Shang's forces. Due to his nature as a royal advisor to the Emperor of China and the historical nature of the film, he would be assumed to be a eunuch.
- The Last Eunuch (1988), a Chinese biographical film directed by Zhang Zhiliang, tells the story of Sun Yaoting, who saw the last royal palace's extravagant lifestyle and experienced the breakdown of the last imperial empire and felt the new changes brought by the new age.
- The film Farinelli (1994) is about the castrato singer Farinelli.
- The documentary film Bombay Eunuch (2001) examines the changing role of India's hijras, some of whom are also eunuchs.
- The documentary film American Eunuchs (2003) investigates the underworld of modern eunuchs in America.
- In the film One Night With the King (2006), Hadassah's (Esther's) would-be boyfriend, Jesse, is captured by the Persian empire and castrated.
- The documentary film Kiss the Moon (2010), set in Pakistan, portrays three generations of eunuchs examining the ancient rituals and religious beliefs surrounding their community.
- Nilkantho treats the plight of the Indian hijras with sensitivity.
- In Murder 2 (2011), by Emraan Hashmi , the antagonist castrates himself and becomes an eunuch.
- In the video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015), the loyal servant and bookie of head Redanian Intelligence Sigismund Dijkstra is a eunuch, called Happen the Eunuch. He takes care of the Bathhouse in Novigrad, which is open to both sexes.
- The Serpent's Oath (2021) by A.R. Valeson portrays a historical fiction romance between King Henry VIII's Master Secretary, Thomas Cromwell and a castrato, Arthamaeus.
- The Alteration by Kingsley Amis is an "alternative history" set in 20th-century England about a boy soprano and eunuch.
- Several tales of the Arabian Nights focus on eunuchs.
- For the greater part of Iain Banks' novel The Wasp Factory (1984), the 16-year-old narrator Frank Cauldhame claims to be a eunuch, the result of being savaged by a dog when he was an infant. At the novel's climax, Frank discovers that he was, in fact, born female.
- The character of the Pardoner in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, is implied to be a eunuch or homosexual.
- Being proud of not being a eunuch is the subject of the song "At Least You're Not a Eunuch" in the play Life and Death in Jaffna (The Musical!) by Edward Cress
- The Queen Salmissra, in David Eddings' The Belgariad and The Malloreon, is only allowed to be served by eunuchs. Her chief eunuch, Sadi, becomes a principal character in The Malloreon, and is referred to in The Prophecy as "The Man who is no Man."
- Three best-selling crime novels by Jason Goodwin, The Janissary Tree and its sequels, The Snake Stone and The Bellini Card, are set in Istanbul in the 1830s, chronicle the investigations of Yashim Togalu, a Turkish eunuch detective to the Sultan's royal court, in the Ottoman Empire of the 1830s.
- Christopher Harris' historical novel Memoirs of a Byzantine Eunuch (2002) features a eunuch.
- In Robert E. Howard's short story "The Scarlet Citadel", the main antagonist has a eunuch prison guard named Shukeli, in whom normal human passions have been replaced by extreme sadism.
- The eunuch Manan is a major character in The Tombs of Atuan, the second book from Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series. The story largely takes place in a large convent where no men are allowed, so a number of other eunuchs are mentioned. One among them is Duby, who Manan plays a stick game with.
- The Vampire Eli in John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Let The Right One In is a eunuch. However, this detail is not made abundantly clear in the book's eponymous 2008 film adaptation.
- George R. R. Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaptation, Game of Thrones, features numerous eunuchs, including: the eunuch Varys (also called the Spider), a court official bearing the title of Master of Whisperers, the equivalent of the real world spymaster; Theon Greyjoy, who is implied to have been castrated while held prisoner; and the Unsullied, elite eunuch soldiers, who are also greatly featured in the books.
- Eunuchs feature prominently in Montesquieu's novel Lettres Persanes (1722) about Persian visitors to 18th-century France.
- A historical mystery series[which?] written by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, beginning in 1999, details investigations carried out by John, the eunuch Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian I, in and around the sixth-century imperial court in Constantinople.
- Bagoas, the eunuch favorite of Alexander the Great's, is the main character and narrator of The Persian Boy (1972), an historical novel by Mary Renault.
- Castrati singers in 18th-century Italy are the main characters of Anne Rice's novel Cry to Heaven.
- Kim Stanley Robinson's historical science fiction novel The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) features many eunuchs in its opening section, including the character Kyu and the historical Chinese admiral Zheng He.
- Sazed, a major character in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, was made a eunuch at a young age. He eventually ascends to godhood, becoming an entity called Harmony, who was castrated as a punishment while a slave.
- In William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, Viola initially decides to disguise herself as a eunuch named Cesario in order to serve Duke Orsino.
- Wilbur Smith's Egyptian series of novels about ancient Egypt, beginning with River God (1991), follow the adventures of a talented eunuch named Taita.
- Eunuchus (The Eunuch) is a comedy by the Roman playwright Terence.
- One of the characters that Voltaire's Candide meets on his adventures is a eunuch.
- In The Country Wife (1675) by William Wycherley, the main character, Mr. Horner, pretends to be a man turned eunuch by impotence caused by syphilis, in order to gain access to the bedrooms of married women.
- The society described in Rieko Yoshihara's Japanese novel (and later anime series) Ai no Kusabi has within its caste system "Furniture", or eunuchs who act as servants to the highest social class. The character Katze was once Furniture but now works on the black market.
- The punk rock band the Descendents wrote a song about a eunuch called "Eunuch Boy", which was on their 1996 comeback album Everything Sucks.
- In the TV show Major Dad, a eunuch was in charge of the security wives of Emir of Katodd.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Marooned", Rimmer is said to have been Alexander the Great's chief eunuch in a past life.
- The character Naboo the Enigma, from the British comedy act and television series The Mighty Boosh, is a eunuch.
- In the HBO show Game of Thrones supporting character Varys is a eunuch, as are the elite warriors of the Unsullied.
- In the British Television programme "Peep Show", Mark is described as a Eunuch by Big Suze in the episode "Sisterning",
- In the South Korean drama Love in the Moonlight, one of the main characters is a girl who's disguised as a eunuch.
- In the Turkish historical drama The Magnificent Century several eunuchs serve in the Suleiman the Magnificent's harem. Sümbül Ağa, the chief eunuch, later becomes Hurrem Sultan's closest confidant.