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This week is so much fun. October seems like the perfect time of year to talk about villains. Maybe it's because it's Halloween season. The temps are dropping, the atmosphere is getting just right to watch my favorite horror movies or, in this case, read books with my favorite villains.
A funny thing I've been noticing with literature and television lately is that the villains aren't just people we hate anymore. We're being made to feel sorry for them, we're falling in love with them, and isn't that just a weird thing? The best example I think of is Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time. Rumple is technically a villain, he's done horrible things, but because of the way the writers are handling him, I've grown to love him as a character and I want only the best for him and Belle. What are writers doing to our morals?! *lol*
Here, then, this week is a list of my 10 ten favorite villains:
10. The Trunchbull, Matilda
The Trunchbull is, if anything, all of the horrible things that you can think a teacher might be rolled into one and then enlarged until it becomes so huge that it takes on a life of its own. The Trunchbull is a frightening beast and is the perfect counterpoint to the beloved character of Matilda, the sweet and highly intelligent five year old that bests her using her brains.
9. Gestalt, The Rook
I'm not sure they're considered the villain of this piece, but they're certainly one of them. Gestalt is insanly creepy and that's only the half of it. You have to read this book to fully understand the oddness and full-on creepiness that is Gestalt, a hive mind sort of creature in four bodies. And that, too, is just the start.
8. IT, A Wrinkle in Time
A villain that wants everyone to be the same? It's like children of the corn that got mixed with a children's novel. It's one of the worst things I can think of, everyone being exactly the same, forced to be the same, reprogrammed if they stray even a little. When Charles Wallace starts to succumb to this villain, the story really gets heart breaking. This is one of my favorite villains because it is one of the most terrifying and, truth be told, one of the most realistic.
7. Ursula Monkton, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
If ever you thought a nanny was a good idea, Ursula Monkton will surely give you pause. She's wicked in the most base sense of the word. She looks like a regular person, but it's the aura she has the makes you feel like something is wrong. That's what puts you off, but you can't tell why. The unsettling feeling, the perfect mask shading old evil, makes Ursula one of the "best" villains I've read of.
6. The Other Mother, Coraline
The Other Mother is an interesting character. In the movie, Coraline takes a lot longer to see her for what she is, even with the frightening button eyes. In the book, it's almost instinctive. The Other Mother tries to pretend like she's the ideal mother figure, but she can't hide her villainous nature. Her attempts to do so, however, make her quite interesting, both on the page and on film.
5. Count Olaf, The Series of Unfortunate Events
Count Olaf is a terrible person, no doubt, and he's a villain in the sense that's he's greedy, murderous, and cruel. He's out to get the Baudelaire fortune by any means necessary. However, when it comes to tangling with the three Baudelaire orphans, he's just so spectacularly bad at it that I think he's almost more comical than he is terrible.
4. Jadis/The White Witch, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Jadis is an iconic villain for me. I remember reading this book and then seeing the animated cartoon, so that was the image in my head for years until the live action adaptation in 2005 (somehow I missed the BBC version). She is terrifying from the start, even when she's trying to act nice. She's fearsome and has the power to turn people to stone in an instant. Who wouldn't be afraid of her? Edmund, apparently, but he's a silly git for the the first half of the book. -_-
3. Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Now this isn't to say I like Umbridge. She's a god awful person and the worst character in the entire series. Yes, even worse than freaking Lord Voldemort. That being sad, she's my favorite villain of the series because she's so good at being just that, a villain. The scariest part of her is that she doesn't look like what you think of as a villain. She isn't big or intimidating. She doesn't have huge scars marring her face or crazy hair like another psycho witch I might mention. If we're going by looks alone, she could be a sweet old lady and that's the front she presents to the world until you cross her. That's when the scariness really comes out and the worst of it is, this is the type of villain that is all to real. You're unlikely to come across Voldemort in the real world, but an Umbridge substitute? Totally believable.
2. The Darkling, Shadow and Bone
I've only read Shadow and Bone of the Grisha trilogy so far, so my opinion of the Darkling is based solely on what you can read about him in that volume. I think my adoration of this character comes from the fact that for most of the book, he's actually portrayed as a good guy, as a love interest for that matter. When things started going south and his mother revealed his true colors, I was still hoping that maybe she was lying. Maybe there was an ulterior motive? By the end I was heartbroken to discover that he was just as evil as people claimed him to be, but I still had to admire his abilities and his dedication to maintaining that trustworthy facade. He certainly had me fooled.
1. The Ring/Sauron, The Lord of the Rings
I've been working my way through this book for awhile now and I'm not sure whether you'd count the Ring as it's own separate villain or whether it's considered a real part of Sauron. Personally, I'd say once it's on it's own and trying to get back to its master, then it's an entity unto itself. It is that entity that I find to be the most frightening villain of all because of what it does to its victims.
It amps up paranoia, greed, and other instincts in its host that turn them into vicious and pitiful versions of themselves. What I wonder at times, though, is whether it actually does anything to them, or whether it just removes whatever it is that stops a person from giving into these temptations and lets them turn themselves into their own worst villains. I'm not sure which is more terrifying, but The Ring as a villain, or Sauron if you view it as an extension of him, is the one that is both frightening and fascinating to me.
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