Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Villains

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new theme is given.

This week the is : Top Ten Tuesday Rewind

This theme means that I get to go back into the Top Ten Tuesday archive and choose whatever past theme I want.
Therefore I chose theme (22) Villains/ Criminal/ Other Nasties

So I will write about 10 of my most favorite book villains. This one was a bit of a challenge. I really like villains, but I realized the ones that came to my mind the most were from movies and TV shows. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was being foolish. Books have incredible villains! And some of them I simply adore. Sometimes even more than the hero, because they are often more layered, or interesting, or just so scary they stick in your mind long after you've turned the last page. So, here goes.

1. Voldemort - Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
I do not think this one needs any introduction. At first I wasn't sure I liked Voldemort as much as other villains. He was just that unknown, kind of far away villain everyone was scared of, but never really saw. Then by the end of the fourth book, he came back to life, and then we understood. In the subsequent books we were given more background story, more layers to his character, if a character as evil and as unforgiving as him can have layers. His story was not much about how an innocent can become a monster. It was how a monster finds the power to become the most feared wizard in history. I found that fascinating.

2. Moriarty - Sherlock Holmes series, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While admittedly Moriarty is only featured directly in two of the Sherlock Holmes stories ("The Valley of Fear" and "The Final Problem"), I find him quite frightening. When the character is discussed as being a criminal mastermind, a shadow behind a lot of the crime happening in London, some even investigated by Holmes himself, we as the reader were forced to look back on all of those conflicts, and murders, and theft, that had happened in previous stories and wonder and wonder, how much of it was due to Moriarty? Was he behind it all? That's what I like about him, he is smart and quick and ingenious, but mysterious, almost invisible and too elusive.

3. The One Ring - The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien
I could have easily said Sauron, but really The One Ring (which admittedly is an extension of Sauron himself) is far more frightening to me. While Sauron is just a disembodied evil, this great eye far into Mordor, far from the characters from most of the trilogy, the Ring is ever present. There is something quite frightening about an object so small and innocuous, so harmless, yet, so so evil. The way it tempts the people around it, especially the ones bearing it, the way it wants to be found, it wants to be reunited with its Master. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

4. Mrs. Coulter - His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Oh, Mrs. Coulter. While she gets more layered and a bit more of a gray-area villain in the second and third book of the series, she truly gave me the creeps in the first one. She was all sweetness and steel. She was nice and motherly (ha!) one moment and the next stern, cold, and even cruel. But for me the horror came toward the end of the first book, when it is revealed what it is she really does, there, in the North, will all of those kidnapped children...And as the series unfolded, and she got more and more complex, I was always torn about her character, always ambiguous. Isn't that a great thing?

5. Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
I love Umbridge. I do. Or I love to hate her. She was a delightful villain. So cruel and creepy. She was never really a Death Eater, but always a Power Seeker. Taking over Hogwarts, torturing students, implementing a dictatorship in the school. Then later, pursuing non "pure-blood" witches. She grabbed at all the power she could, was heartless and steadfast in her twisted convictions. I thought she showed another side of evil in the Harry Potter series. that "ordinary" people can also be cruel and hurtful and damaging. While Voldemort always seemed in a class of his own, not even really human anymore, Umbridge was so human, I couldn't help but be frightened in the recognition my mind had that people like her actually exist.

6. Hook - Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie
Hook, while not as threatening as most other villains on this list, is just such a great and fun villain, I couldn't leave him out. He is never a real threat to Peter Pan, not really. We know from the beginning who will win, and who will die. But, I like the colorfulness of Hook. And let's face it, I like pirates (who doesn't really? Literary ones that is, real ones are a bit to scary and probably not as fashionable and extravagant)

7. The Nothing - The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende
I was introduced to this villain through the movie before the book and was completely scared and fascinated by it, and things didn't change once I got to the book. The Nothing is not a character per se, it is a destructive force created by the lack of imagination of people in the real world. And it is slowly swallowing Fantastica, making places, things, and people disappear, not killing them, it is as if they never existed. How terrifying really, to think that imagination has the power to create such wonders, and the lack of it to destroy so swiftly and with such finality. (picture: Not The Nothing, but Gmork, the werewolf, another villain in the story. can't really have a picture of nothing.)

8. The White Witch - The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
I always liked the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She seemed liked such a badass. It would take one very powerful being to make winter last this long. But it is really once I got to reading The Magician's Nephew that I truly liked her. We are introduced to who she is, where she comes from, and how she got into Narnia. And how terrible and heartless she can be. I mean, she destroyed her own world, everything in it, with one word, just so her sister wouldn't win, just so she wouldn't loose. And even after her defeat at the hand of Aslan, she lingers in memories and in spirit through the whole history of Narnia, through all its ages. The first evil to enter Narnia.

9. President Snow/The Capitol (and every other government in dystopian fiction) - The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Here I name the oppressive and dictatorship government that reigns over the world of The Hunger Games series, but really it can be any type of totalitarian government in any dystopian novel, young adult or otherwise. There is something so terrifying (and maybe a little too close to home?) about such governments and restrictive societies. And there is something totally satisfying and great about reading about characters that confront such governments, and attempt to break its barriers to find a way out, to find freedom. Such tales would not be possible without such great villains as dictators, Thought Police, Hunger Games, and other twisted power-hungry governmental institutions.

10. The Unraveller Rakoth Maugrim - The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Fionavar Tapestry is a great epic fantasy in the same vein as The Lord of The Rings (in fact Mr. Kay was Christopher's Tolkien assistant in putting together The Silmarillion), but maybe a bit more accessible. I absolutely love it, and it probably should deserve a post in itself. Let me just say that Rakoth Maugrim is as evil as evil gets. He is a renegade god who, jealous of The Weaver's (the creator) work, breaks into Fionavar and bring pain, war, distress and evil to it. Because he came from outside the Loom, he cannot be killed and therefore, once defeated, can only be chained under a mountain, where he bides his time to take his revenge. Scary, end-of-the-world stuff.


  1. I love your list. I just read a book by Guy Gavriel Kay and loved it. I am going to have to try the Fionavar Tapestry.

  2. Great list! The White Witch and President Snow are so evil. And Moriarty is the ultimate archnemesis.

  3. I hated Dolores Umbridge so much that I always have a hard time reading the scenes she's in or seeing them on the movie.

  4. Excellent list! I completely agree with a lot of them. Umbridge and Voldemort were fantastic villains, and Hook is one of my favourite characters of all time!

    Books of Amber

  5. Excellent choices! I agree that it was great how they made Mrs. Coulter more morally ambiguous as the series went on - what an interesting character. Weirdly, I think Umbridge scares me most of all from this list!

  6. Great picks! Voldemort is a perfect type villain.

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  7. I wouldn't have thought of the Nothing! Love your list!

    Reading Lark's Top 10 Tuesday

  8. I love that you included the one Ring from LotR! I never really thought of it that way when I looked at villains - excellent choice.

  9. I chose to do this list as well. I had thought about including The Nothing but for reason decided to leave it off the list. I can't, however, believe that I forgot Captain Hook. I'm actually a little ashamed of myself right now.

    Love your choices. Here are mine:


  10. Ahhhh! That image of Gmork still scares me!

  11. Good list, with scary pictures. Voldemort is terrifying, and the Nothing.

    Here is my list

  12. Oh, this is wonderful. J.K. Rowling created wonderful villains -- I think Bellatrix Lestrange ranks quite highly, too.