The Ruler of Hell (King or Queen of Hell) is the title and the highest position a demon, or the Archangel Lucifer, can hold over Hell. The ruler of Hell can control the fate of any soul that goes to Hell and has such a high authority that he or she may even trade any number of souls in Hell as per their wish, as seen when Crowley gave Castiel "fifty large," fifty thousand souls from the pit, to make a showing in front of Raphael during the civil war in Heaven.
The King or Queen of Hell can also alter Hell's appearance and how it is run, as Crowley redesigned hell following Lucifer's imprisonment and replaced the previous method of extreme physical torture with continuous queuing (which served as a psychological torture for all in Hell). While other demons have ruled Hell previous to them, only Crowley, Abaddon, and Lilith have used this title to describe themselves. It is currently unknown how the King or Queen of Hell is elected. However, it may simply be that the most powerful demon takes power. In Crowley's case, the Winchesters had eliminated all of the other powerful demons who could be his contenders and locked Lucifer back in his Cage and the survivng Princes of Hell were uninterested.
However, in season 6, he indicated that his position wasn't secure and he needed the power of the souls of Purgatory to secure it. This seemed to be resolved until Abaddon emerged to challenge him for power in which they fought a civil war for control of Hell. With Abaddon's death, he regained full control of Hell. In one brief episode it shows Crowley talking to a council of demons and letting them know the King has returned. After Lucifer escaped the cage again, he has since reclaimed the throne. However after the battle with the Darkness and God's departure again, Lucifer did not want to rule Hell nor Heaven, thus leaving the throne empty. In Stuck in the Middle (With You), its shown that Crowley has regained control of Hell.
In Stuck in the Middle (With You), its revealed that in the absence of Lucifer, the Princes of Hell are next in line for the throne of Hell. Azazel had been one of the Princes of Hell, hence his ability to rule Hell while Lucifer was locked away for the first time, but none of the other Princes were interested following Lucifer's defeat. Instead, Ramiel had suggested that Crowley take power instead.
Known Rulers of HellEdit
- Azazel (seasons 1-2)
- Lilith (seasons 3-4)
- Lucifer (seasons 5, 11)
- Crowley (seasons 6-11, 12)
- Abaddon (season 9)
- Upon Hell's creation and before Azazel, it is unknown who was the ruler of Hell.
- Lucifer is the only non-demon to date to rule over Hell, as he is an Archangel and the creator of the demons.
- Although Crowley has ruled Hell for the longest duration on the show, the demons refuse to accept him since they claim he only makes "hollow promises".
- Two out of the five known Rulers of Hell have been killed by Dean Winchester. He killed Azazel and Abaddon.
- Sam Winchester has killed one Ruler of Hell. He killed Lilith.