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Villains used to be a character to be hated, someone that the main character had to triumph over and that was it. However, in recent years, I've begun noticing more well developed villains in literature, both newly written ones and ones that I've finally read about from older titles. They're much more interesting now and I've got a few favorites that I like reading about.
5. The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland
The Queen of Hearts is amazing in her insanity and nonsense. While the depiction of her in the Disney movie is more of a combination of the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen, thus given her some mellow moments, the Queen from the book is a host of immense fury, liable to fly off the handle at the slightest offense. She is an unapologetic villain and doesn't let anyone or anything get in her way, even if that means sentencing them to beheading. Evil through and through, she was comical in her actions (what evil dictator plays croquet?) and plays her part of villain well.
4. Gestalt, The Rook
Gestalt is a very creepy villain because they're both one villain and four separate villains at one time. Confused? Well, this is a supernatural novel and there are several powers that one might have. Not everyone hast them, but of those that two, "one" is Gestalt: a single soul that is spread over four bodies. Quadruplets, if you will. One woman and three men that move independently but share a hive mind and you can see it when you look into their eyes.
There are quite a few events involving their unique situation that come into play regarding the main story line, but saying anymore would definitely qualify as spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that if you look into one person's eyes and feel the weight of four looking back, it's at a minimum disconcerting. You really have no idea what Gestalt is capable of until you read The Rook.
3. The Darkling, Shadow and Bone
The Darkling was a mysterious one. I thought that he was an anti-hero at first, but not necessarily bad. He turned out to be very good at keeping his true evil hidden, though, and how he acted up until then had me convinced that maybe his mother was lying. Maybe he really was a good guy? Maybe it was all a big misunderstanding? No, he is just that good at being bad.
2. Jadis, The Chronicles of Narnia
She never seems to go away. Jadis is quite adept at manipulation, as seen when she gets Edmund to betray his siblings. I thought she was especially terrifying in The Magician's Nephew. During her first appearance, we find out more about her origins, what she'd have been like if she was in our world, and just how terrified she was of Narnia in the beginning (with good reason!). Tilda Swinton portrayed her very well in the Narnia films and was my favorite of all the times I've seen the White Witch in a film.
1. Nothing, The Neverending Story
The Nothing is the most terrifying monster of all, and my favorite, because it is symbolically the most realistic one. The Nothing in Fantastica represents the lost of imagination and without imagination, that world is nothing. It rings true in our world today, when quite a lot of the time children are told to stop dreaming and to grow up quick as they can. That is a horrid fate because if you don't have imagination, you're barely able to cope with the depressing aspects of this world, whichever you may come into contact with (and I do hope they're few).
The Nothing doesn't look scary, precisely, but it is a big, gaping emptiness and looking into it, I imagine, would feel like having your anxiety, depression, your saddest thoughts of all, eating at you from the inside out and going on to consume everything around you.
It is both the most frightening and my favorite villain on this list because I think the author managed to encapsulate something so human in a fictional character, but he also showed that it was possible to push it back. Bastian manages this through his journey of reading The Neverending Story and believing in himself and the book. It's such a little thing, but it's power was more immense that anyone could have realized.
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