October 4: All About The Villains — I don’t think we’ve done a villains topic since back in November 2010 so let’s revisit: top ten favorite/most compelling villains in books, top ten of the most vile villains/bad guys in books, top ten villains I secretly (or not so secretly) love, favorite tv villains, favorite comic book villains, ten “villains” of contemporary lit.
I decided to do a mix of my favourite villains and some I secretly love. Most of the time, I’m not a fan of villains. They’re often misunderstood bad boys who are secretely really nice, and finally dare to show it because of that special someone. Beside the fact that it has become predictable, they are sometimes uncalled-for rude. And that can really bother me.
What exactly is a villain, though? Some of the people on my list, I don’t even consider villains myself. I found the following definition online:
a villain: a character in a book, play, film, etc. who harms other people
That’s pretty vague, but that’s the definition my list is based on. Let’s get started! This is in no particular order:
1. Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin)
All of the characters in the ASOIAF series are complex. It makes them relatable and seem real. I don’t exactly consider Cersei a villain myself, because I understand her actions and there are characters much worse than her.
She’s one of my favourites in the series. I used to dislike her, but once I realised how horrible Tyrion was, I started to love her more and more.
I’m currently reading A Feast for Crows and I am so happy I finally get chapters from her POV! I’ve been waiting for those since forever!
Cersei is also amazing in the TV show, but I have the feeling she’s going to die in the next season 😦 What she did in the season six finale was so bad-ass, it has become one of my favourite episodes because of it. If you haven’t listened to ‘Light of the Seven’ by Ramin Djawadi yet, you should! It’s amazing. Anyway, to me, it has always been obvious Dany is going play a big role in the end and I don’t see how that’s possible when Cersei’s still alive.
2. Joseph Kavinsky (The Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater)
I’ve mentioned this many times before already, but Kavinsky is one of my favourite characters in The Raven Cycle. Once again, I don’t consider him a villain myself, but he definitely is the antagonist at the end of one of the books.
Just to be clear: I don’t defend his actions. I know he is a horrible person. But liking a character (or finding him interesting) does not mean you have to defend anything he does. One of the main things I disliked about The Raven King was the introduction of tons of antagonists. At least we got to know Kavinsky beforehand. I really miss him and whenever I re-read the series, I’m happy to ‘see’ him again.
3. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling)
I’m pretty sure Bellatrix is going to be on everyone’s list, but I had to include her! I LOVE her! She’s absolutely horrible, I’m not denying that, she’s 100% villain. I don’t like it when people have headcanons of her being manipulated into becoming a death eater. She completely embraces her ‘evilness’ and I love that about her.
I don’t like the idea of characters being either completely good or all bad, but Bellatrix is done is such a good way, I really don’t mind that she doesn’t seem to have any nice traits.
Bellatrix is not the only villain in the Harry Potter series worth mentioning; I could go on. One of my favourites is Narcissa Malfoy. She wasn’t a death eater herself, but did agree with her husband’s views. Even though I absolutely don’t consider her as a villain, I guess I can include her here as well.
4. Harley Quinn (DC comics)
It’s no secret I’m obsessed with Harley Quinn. After all, I named my kitten Harley. I was very happy when I found out there will be more movies with Margot Robbie as Harley. Suicide Squad might not have been perfect (I liked it), but I still really enjoyed it and think Margot did a perfect job. Whenever I read comics, I often read ones which feature Harley.
Recently, more and more people have started to call her an anti-hero instead of a villain. I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t think she ever would have become a villain on her own. But because of the Joker’s abuse and manipulations, she has become one. I don’t really want to ‘label’ her since none of this was her own decision. But I’m not going to pretend she is a saint because of that reason either.
When I mention Harley Quinn, I naturally have to mention Poison Ivy too! I love this duo *ahem: girlfriends*!
5. The Commandant (An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir)
The Commandant is absolutely horrible. She condones slavery, rape and mutilation. But for a Young Adult novel, I think this villain is written very well. We get to know her, even though we don’t get any chapters from her POV. Often, I come across villains who are evil, but we don’t find out why they are like that or which bad things they actually do. That was one of my problems with Cinder; constantly saying a character is evil, isn’t the same as actually showing us why and how they are evil.
Furthermore, she isn’t written in an exaggerated way either. The things she does are insane, but it never seems over the top or unrealistic. There are many slavers who treated their slaves like that.
Anyway, The Commandant is one of the best villains I have come across in the Young Adult Fantasy genre. I don’t like her, but I certainly appreciate the way she is portrayed and written.
Once again, I’m a big fat liar: this has turned into another ‘Top Five Tuesday’ post instead. Oh well, I don’t like forcing myself to come up with more answers, just so I could reach a list of ten names… Anyway, who are your favourite villains? Feel free to leave a link to your post below!