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.
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
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
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…
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
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
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.
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?
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!
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.