I love a wily villain who slinks onto the page with a sneer. Masterful plot to take down the hero? Check! Anticipating and successfully parrying every attempt of said hero to fight back? Count me in! A fantastically devious name/mind/costume? Yes please!
We’re exploring villains this month on the blog, and I get to kick us off.
There’s nothing better than a well-written antagonist to act as the perfect foil for the protagonist. What fun it is when a book has one (or two, or three!) scoundrel to make the story line interesting. And it’s all the more exciting when the baddie finally gets their inevitable comeuppance.
Literature is full of dastardly characters you’d never want to meet in a dark alley, and I’m rounding up my faves.
Cos they’re coming at you swinging.
The villains I love to hate
Big Bully on the Prairie: Nellie Oleson
Ooooh, Nellie! Laura Ingalls Wilder combined three people from real life to make one outstanding antagonist. This bad girl was everything Little House’s Laura wasn’t: blonde, wealthy, spoiled, and lazy. Nellie kept her dresses immaculate, her complexion fashionably pale, and her hands soft.
I distinctly remember, at the age of ten or eleven, punching my book because I was so, so angry with her for speaking rudely to Ma. Even now, more than thirty years later, I still get hot under the collar when I remember how Nellie tried to steal Laura’s beau, Almanzo.
I was extraordinarily pleased when Laura first got her revenge on Nellie by tricking her into muddy water where the leeches got her, and I may have audibly cheered when she outmaneuvered Nellie at last and won Almanzo’s heart completely.
The Regency Cad: Mr. Wickham
Yes, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are two of my most bestest lovey-dovey characters from literature
Therefore, it only follows that Mr. Wickham is also a villain worthy of my scorn.
He’s tall, handsome, an officer in the militia, and, for a while there, he’s interested in Lizzie. What’s not to make a proper English gentlewoman’s heart go pitter-patter? And his sob story of the wrongs wrought upon him by the snobbish Mr. Darcy! Who knew he was going to turn out to be such a scoundrel?
I love how Jane Austen layered this character. She kept me guessing what mischief Mr. Wickham was going to get in next!
And *SPOILER ALERT* the fact that he’s the one who whisks Lydia off to live in a life of sin vindicates Mr. Darcy’s opinion of him AND provides a perfect opportunity for Mr. Darcy to sweep in and remedy the situation inasmuch as he’s able to.
The Fairy-tale Fiend: Queen Levanna
She’s got power. She’s got brains. She’s got glamour.
The Lunar Chronicles elegant enemy, Queen Levanna, has got it all.
Marissa Meyer developed a chilling version of Snow White’s stepmother who is even more terrifying than the original. But Meyer doesn’t stop there. Levanna gets to tell her own story in Fairest and I have to admit, I was a little sorry for her. It didn’t stop me from wanting to see her stopped however!
I read breathlessly through this series and wondered how in all creation Cinder and crew were going to fight this crazy queen. I wasn’t disappointed. The ending was sooo good!
Well, there you go. Those are my top 3 baddies. Until next time…
What did you think about my list? Don’t forget to check back here for the rest of our series this month about villains!