I was really excited about this prompt but once I sat down to do it, it was REALLY HARD? I decided to limit myself to my top 10 favorite book villains (not anti-heroes or villain-to-hero arcs). As always, Top Ten is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
In no particular order:
- Cassius from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare:
Let me have men about me that are fat… Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
I like villains that do a lot of plotting behind the scenes and then when they end up stabbing their friend in an alley nobody sees it coming. Cassius is an interesting guy.
2. The Nazgul (Ringwraiths, neither living nor dead) from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:
Upon it sat a shape, black-mantled, huge and threatening. A crown of steel he bore, but between rim and robe naught was there to see, save only a deadly gleam of eyes: the Lord of the Nazgûl. To the air he had returned, summoning his steed ere the darkness failed, and now he was come again, bringing ruin, turning hope to despair, and victory to death. A great black mace he wielded.
The Nazgul are terrifying and I love them dearly. They’re the ultimate bogeyman for me.
3. Piper Greenmantle from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater:
She drifted towards the bedroom, on her way to have a bath or take a nap or start a war.
Piper Greenmantle is villain #goals. She has no morals, no qualms, no hesitation when it comes to ruining lives and burning forests. Also, she’s hilarious.
4. Madame Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:
Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.
Although I find her very unpleasant, Madame Defarge plots revenge through knitting, and I respect that.
5. Seishiro Sakurazuka from Tokyo Babylon by CLAMP:
Seishiro is one of the most effective villains I have ever had the misfortune to meet in a book, not to mention manga. He appears to be a goofy, gentle veterinarian, but he turns out to be playing a really long game of …murder? Don’t mess with this guy.
6. The Lady of the Green Kirtle from The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis:
You have seen lamps, and so you imagined a bigger and better lamp and called it the sun. You’ve seen cats, and now you want a bigger and better cat, and it’s to be called a lion.
The Lady of the Green Kirtle/Green Lady/Green Witch/etc etc is scary to me because she’s so good at twisting the truth. And that’s…too real. Truth is hard enough without some hot lady petting you and explaining how confused you are.
7. Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker:
Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told.
As you may have noticed, we’re rereading Dracula around these parts, and Dracula is still terrifying and the best vampire ever. He’s not only a scary monster that goes around at night killing people, but he’s also a brilliant tactician and a genocidal warlord, which makes everything much more intense and difficult.
8. Luke Castellan from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan:
Aw, Luke. I tried not to put anti-heroes on this list and I don’t think Luke is one but he comes pretty close. Demigods who try to help Titans take over the world and kill a bunch of people because their dad abandoned them are….not great.
9. Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn:
History is on the move, Captain. Those who cannot keep up will be left behind, to watch from a distance. And those who stand in our way will not watch at all.
Thrawn is definitely one of my favorite villains ever, bookish or otherwise. He’s dramatic, really smart, and ruthless. He’s what I might call an ethical villain – very much at odds with the purposes of the protagonists and too ruthless to be a good guy, but he still tries to do the right thing as he sees it instead of acting for his own gain.
10. Aunt Maria from Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones:
We have had Aunt Maria ever since Dad died. If that sounds as if we have the plague, that is what I mean.
Aunt Maria is an amalgam of every gossipy, small-minded, vicious, controlling, person who has ever lived. She has powerful magic and uses it to manipulate and brainwash people. TOO REAL.