Since I compiled my list of heroes last week, I thought it only fair to dive into the villains this week. These are the people I just love to hate. And in actuality, the villain is what makes or breaks a story for me. We can go into a huge conversation about the difference between an antagonist and a villain, but I’ll just define it in simple terms so I can get to my list.
A villain has no redeeming qualities. An antagonist has a glimmer of the redeemable in him — though he likely continues to make the wrong choices.
It took me all week to compile this list. I even had to have help from some Facebook friends. But here we go!
1) Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. This woman just got under my skin. It was the first villain I’ve read about where I actually wanted to reach into the pages of my book and strangle her.
2) Iago from Othello. He gets points for exploiting the human tendency toward jealousy.
3) Black Jack Randall from the Outlander series. I picked him because he’s … well … politely sadistic.
4) Professor James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes. This one a friend pointed out to me and I have to agree. It’s been about 6 months since I read any of my Doyle, but yeah … he had to make a character that could put Holmes through a ringer.
5) Sauron from Lord of the Rings. I mean … c’mon. Dude didn’t have a body and he still tried to take over Middle Earth.
I do have some honorable mentions! The first is Dorian Grey, who I think falls more under the “antagonist” category because he starts out just fine and then progresses into evil-bastard via the choices he makes. The second two are from movies, and since this is supposed to be the literary version I can’t put them up here.
1) Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Before you laugh, remember that this crazy lady cursed a baby, spent 16 years hunting a child, and then plotted to hold a man hostage so that he could save the day when he was a decrepit old man. That, and, well, she turned into a frigging dragon.
2) Guy de Lusignan from Kingdom of Heaven. My friend at work suggested this one and my immediate response was to coo. Because, I mean, did you see the movie?
That’s my list of villains! If you’ve got any that you think could beat my villains into powdery-doom, I’m happy to hear about them.