I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:
Top Ten Favorite Bookish Villains
I love a great villain. There are so many different ways to be a villain, too. You can be anything from a selfish and mean neighbor to a scheming mass murderer. Think of the people in your life who you might cast in the "villain" role in a movie about your life. Probably very few of them are evil to the core. More likely you just didn't connect with or agree with them. In books, villains can often be just as multidimensional and interesting as the main protagonist. I love it when they are so layered. It makes the whole story that much more interesting. Here are my favorite villains I've read in books, and why:
10. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Snape is such an excellent villain precisely because you're never really sure whether he actually is or isn't a villain. Even after the series ended there were people arguing from both ends. His story reminds me that disagreeable people deserve kindness, too.
9. Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare
Iago remains the #1 most terrifying character I have ever read. The closest I've ever seen to his almost bored interest in destroying others' happiness is Heath Ledger's depiction of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
8. A. Wolf from The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
The wolf gets a spot because his story was the first time I had considered a previously beloved story from a different point of view. Really, if you're a wolf, what's so wrong about eating a free bacon cheeseburger when it sits right in front of you?
7. Nathaniel from The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Nathaniel is not a classic villain. He isn't hated by everyone, neither is he actively trying to destroy anybody or anything. But his inability to see beyond his own desires is startling and thought provoking. I wish more people read this book.
6. The Darkling from The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
Here's a more classic villain for you. Ruler of darkness? Check. Seeking power at any cost? Check. Really only wants some companionship? Double check.
5. Micah Bayer from The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima
Micah is such an interesting character. He is trying to be a good son while also being true to himself. It takes him a while to realize those two things may not be mutually compatible.
4. Basically everyone in A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
No one is safe in these books. No one is really a "good guy" either. Everyone has their own agenda, and everyone is the villain, from another character's point of view. The character dynamics are so fascinating in this series.
3. Elphaba in Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Elphaba is the classic misunderstood villain. I feel like we all know someone like this, though. It reminds me to give everyone a chance. We all could use the benefit of the doubt.
2. President Snow in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
President Snow is a bad dude in a lot of ways. He's conniving and ruthless, and a part of me hates him. But I think, in his way, he really does believe that what he's doing is for the greater good. Which is what makes him so interesting a character.
1. August from Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
August is scary. He is a paranoid schizophrenic, and he holds no small degree of power in the circus that serves as this book's setting. If he was my boss, I would be terrified out of my ever loving mind. As a fictional character, I loved reading about him.
Who are your favorite villains and why?