Everybody loves a baddie. This was the hardest top five list I’ve had to narrow down yet. Villains are often more fun to read than the heroes. Just think about every actor interview you’ve ever seen where they say that it’s definitely more fun to play the bad guy. The same is true of reading. A villain done right is often more compelling than most of those one dimensional goody-goody heroes. Even as a kid, one of my favorite Disney characters was Hades. Also, I should note, these are villains in my sense of the word, some people may view some of these as merely antagonists.
5. Lady Macbeth
Macbeth ends up being a real jerk. But his wife? What a way to climb the social ladder. She basically set the whole thing in motion. Insult a guy’s manhood & suddenly you have at least four murders on your hands. Literally, the blood of at least one that Macbeth was too chicken to pull off himself. Sure she goes a little cuckoo & could probably use some melatonin, but she gets extra points for illustrating the limits of womanhood in a time where men did pretty much everything.
4. Naughty John
This one’s a recent one. I didn’t even really like the book, but he scared the shit out of me. That creepy song! Ugh. “Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat & takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.” I’m so creeped by anything resembling a child’s nursery rhyme. So he gets points for being probably the creepiest villain I’ve read in any YA book.
You love him, you hate him. You love hating him. When I was younger, I was truly afraid of him, but now he’s become sort of comical in my mind. Like a meld of the actual Voldemort & Starkid’s version (if you’ve never seen Joe Walker’s Voldy, then you have not lived). Everybody’s so petrified of him that they won’t even say his name. He has so many lackeys & they all blindly follow him so much so that he’s basically able to come back to life. Sure he’s a murdering, melodramatic, powerful wizard, but he also lived in some dude’s turban for a year…
2. President Coin
I like her because she comes after the reader has already been introduced to the main villain, President Snow, & she is kind of originally propped up in opposition to him. But really, either way the districts are screwed. The cycle just continues. Talk about relation to real world politics, amirite?
Since I had Othello & Desdemona in my Top Worst Literary Couples, I needed to give credit to the guy who got between them. One of the first characters to break the fourth wall & directly addresses the audience, making you an accomplice in his plan. You end up almost expecting his schemes to play out & in a way this puts you on his side. It’s really brilliant. Plus Ewan McGregor played his role once & it was the greatest Iago I’ve ever seen.
Honorable mentions include Bellatrix, Captain Hook, Victor from Vicious, Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes, & Satan from Paradise Lost.