My Favorite Villains | Part 1

Let’s be honest, a villain can make or break a book. There are so many kinds of villains though! You’ve got the straight-out psychopath or the anti-villain, who you can’t help but love too. Most of the time, we talk about our heroes. The protagonist who saves the world! But the villain is just as important! Without them, there would be no need for a hero -and there would be no story to tell. So today, I’m showing my favorite bookish villains some love!

P.S. The titles will take you to their Goodreads page, as always.


1. Galbatorix

eragonThe Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini 

I just had to include Galbatorix on my list. Eragon was one of the first real books that I fell in love with as a young girl, together with Harry Potter of course. And Galbatorix was such an evil ruler. It fascinated me. During the series, you learn more and more about him, both his past and the horrifying person he is now. One of the reasons I loved his backstory so much is that he kind of betrayed everyone from the inside -which no, is not a spoiler. Everyone was so focused on governing the outside, they were overlooking what was happening on the inside. It brings up the age-old question: Who watches the watchers? Or Who governs the governors/rulers? I love it.

2. Joffrey/pretty much everyone

a game of thronesA Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

I chose Joffrey as the title, because he is probably one of the most despicable characters in this series. While they all have done horrible things, most of the characters had a reason to do so. More power for themselves, for their families, and so on. Joffrey is just… evil. He has no reason, other than he likes to see people suffer. Ugh. 

However, I couldn’t just let this list be Joffrey. A Song of Ice and Fire is filled with villains. I’m pretty sure there aren’t many characters who haven’t committed villainous acts. But I feel like most of those would be kind of spoilery? So I’ll just give you some of the names of characters I hate -whether that’s because I don’t like their personality or because they are evil, I’m not telling you! Cersei. Littlefinger. Tywin. Theon. Stannis. Ramsay Bolton.

3. King of Adarlan

throne of glassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I’m starting to see a trend here. Apparently, being evil is one of the prerequisites for becoming a ruler! Anyway, I just had to put this one on the list. First reason, Throne of Glass is one of my favorite YA fantasy series. Second reason: every time I read about this guy, it gives me the creeps. I genuinely feel weirded out, like he’s staring at me with those cold eyes through the pages of the book. 

What intrigues me as well is that I don’t really know much about him. Maybe it has all been explained in the books and I’m just drawing a complete blank. But I just don’t know. Mystery can be creepy…

4. Sauron

fellowship of the ringThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Obviously, I couldn’t make a list about villains without Sauron. I love The Lord of the Rings. I love the books, I love the movies, I love the soundtracks. It’s probably my favorite fantasy movie-series ever. I have watched it sooooo many times, and just never get tired of it. And one of its greatest aspects is its villain, Sauron.

He’s the first villain to truly terrify me. He’s not human. I don’t really know what he is… But when you think of him, what is the first things to come to mind? The Eye. Which is creepy on so many levels. And then we have his Nazgûl. Also: CREEPY. Hooded figures, without a real visible body, cursed blades, weird flying animals. And his Ring, calling for him. 

5. The Wood

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

I never thought a forest would get a spot on my list of favorite villains. I’ve never been one to be afraid of the woods. Maybe I haven’t visited enough creepy ones? I don’t know. But this Wood… First of all, it kidnaps people. It has TREES THAT GET UP AND KIDNAP PEOPLE. I don’t think I can ever trust a tree again. And then it has trees that swallow people. And it can be in your body! The Wood can actually take over your body and infect you. WHAT. NO.

If you haven’t read this YA fantasy novel, please go do so! I highly recommend it. It also has a Dragon, who is not really a dragon. 

 6. The Controller

written in redThe Others by Anne Bishop

So in this series, we have a person called The Controller, who basically owns/controls blood prophets. And I know, he is not really the scariest villain ever. But you know what terrifies me most about him? He’s realistic. I feel like this could actually happen –not the Others obviously. He takes these girls, locks them up and all for profit. They have this thing called “benevolent ownership” –I think– which means that the blood prophets aren’t considered suitable to make their own decisions. So someone else gets to do that for them. This is where people like the Controller take advantage. They lock up the girls, take it all away from them and cut them for money -so they can use their visions to answer client’s questions. I feel like this is something this society could actually one day do.

7. Voldemort

harry potter and the philosopher's stone

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Again, couldn’t make this list without Voldemort. He was the first villain I ever really read about.  I don’t think I really need to justify this one. There are just so many layers to Voldemort! So many that it seems like he was a different person several times over. The creepy orphan kid, teenager at Hogwarts, star student, mass murderer. Just your standard boy growing up, right? 

8. Victor/Eli

viciousVicious by V.E. Schwab

This novel isn’t for those of you who like a straight-up villain. Because they are not. In this story, Victor is the villain and Eli the hero. But in all honesty, as you read on you start to questions those titles. For example, I was rooting for Victor, the supposed villain, the entire time. It was such an intriguing experience! They both have certain qualities that can make them either a superhero or a supervillain. They are extremely smart and dedicated. Persistent. Jealous. Self-righteous. I even think they both have a sort of God complex. 

I really think more people should read this book. It’s amazing. And maybe you’ll find yourself rooting for the “villain” too! 

9. Smaug

the hobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I’m ending my list today with Smaug. A DRAGON. I do love stories about/with dragons. And Smaug is a great example. As all dragons, he loves gold. So he invaded Erebor, and took all of the dwarves’ riches. Which is what I find so hilarious and ridiculous. He took all of the gold and glittering stuff, but what can a dragon do with it? NOTHING. But he’s such a smart dragon. I absolutely love dragons that not only have the human capability of thought, but are smarter than we are too.

Plus, they did a really great job with the movie-version of Smaug.

So this is the first part of my Favorite Villains list, all about the bookish villains I love. I also want to make a list about TV Shows and movies and such. So if you’d like to see that, let me know! So, do you love any of these villains? Which ones are your favorites? Let me know! 
My Favorite Villains | Part 1

22 thoughts on “My Favorite Villains | Part 1

  1. I love an awesome villain too Jolien, they always come across as more developed and shades of grey than a hero or heroine. My favourite would either be Morpheus from Splintered or Warner from the Shatter Me series. Both were deliciously bad, but had that likability and multi layered personalities that drew you in. I can’t wait to see your movie villains and going to check some of these reads out too. Thanks so much for sharing ❤


    1. I agree! Oeh, Morpheus! I hadn’t thought of him. I’ve only read the first book -but I love him already. And Warner. Shameful moment, that I didn’t think of him either. He’s the reason I loved the Shatter Me series so much.

      Thank you!


  2. Ah yes, Voldemort, he seriously terrifies me! The Skulduggery Pleasant series also has so many villains and Darquesse probably is a villain that terrifies me the most – SHE’S SO EVIL and what’s even worse is she doesn’t see anything wrong with what she’s doing. She seriously freaked me out.

    Loved reading this post, Jolien! Looking forward to the others!


    1. I STILL need to read that series! For some reason, that always makes a villain creepier. When they can’t even tell how far from normal they have gone. “The end justifies the means.” is a good example of that I think.

      Thanks Kyra! 😀


  3. I’ve only read the books about two of these villains – Voldemort (obviously) and the King of Adarlan, and I’ve only read the first book of the Throne of Glass series so far, but in that he seemed pretty fricking evil! Voldemort is definitely one of my “favourite” villains, although I do hate him very much, of course. I just love the elaborate back story behind his evilness. Another great villain is Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles – she’s all kinds of evil as well…
    Fun post! I love reading/talking about villains. 🙂


    1. I love his elaborate backstory too! I feel like every good villain needs one. That just makes them relatable, which is why we like them! Oooh, I didn’t think of her before, but you’re right! I really “like” Queen Levana too. Thanks 😀


  4. Good list 🙂 Voldemort is my favourite villain from HP, but the villain I hate the most from HP has to Umbridge!

    Joffrey and Ramsey are two horrible people! Ramsey, I think will be on many men’s list of most hated villain!


    1. Oh no. I can’t believe I forgot about Umbridge! I HATE HER. Thank you for reminding me… I feel disappointed in myself now.

      I know right! Ramsay is awful. Plus, he’s played very well in the show too. It creeps me out.


      1. Haha 🙂
        Yeah, Iwan Rheon who plays Ramsay is terrifyingly good. It was strange seeing him in a comedy programme the other day. To go from Ramsay Bolton to something ordinary must be weird for him.


  5. Hihi…”Joffrey/everyone”. Great heading 😉

    I had to some searching to find me a favourite villain. The books I read don’t really have a straightforward bad guy. But, anyhoow: here it goes:
    1. Smaug – The Hobbit: smart, elegant, vicious, but also very thick headed. Classic Bond villain, really.
    2. The Crippled God – Steven Erikson: this is the kind of villain that turns out to be a victim and no longer a villain. I love it when a bad guy gets my sympathy, in the end.
    3. Count von Magpyre – Carpe Jugulum (Pratchett): ah…another one of those Bond villain types, yet this one is beaten by Headology. Pratchett’s Witches are the best.


    1. Haha, thanks! I couldn’t let it be just Joffrey. Yes to Smaug. I never really thought about the Bond villain comparison, but you’re right! I’ve wanted to read some Steven Erikson, but I never really got around to it. Any recommendation in particular?


      1. Just start with Gardens of The Moon and work your way through the entire series (and I mean: WORK –> take your time, every word is important in his writing).
        If you like something really of the scale, try “Fishing with Grandma Matchie”. Very funny and a certain level of “Monty Python”.


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