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To quote one of my favorites listed below (bonus points if you know who), every fairy tale needs a good old fashioned villain. Villains make our protagonists fight for their happy ending, and truth be told, without them, there wouldn’t be much of a story.
So without further ado, here are my top five favorite villains (in no particular order):
- The Darkling. (The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo) So the Darkling wins my favorite antagonist ever award. He’s got that I know I shouldn’t like you and yet I can’t help it type appeal, he’s powerful, intelligent and best of all, he’s sympathetic. You know he’s horrible and probably a little crazy and yet the thought of him dying is not a happy one. At least, not to me.
- Graceling’s antagonist. (The Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore) Seeing how a large portion of Graceling is about figuring out who the antagonist is, I’m not going to spoil it and give this person’s name. But I will say this antagonist is twisted in a way that never stops being intriguing, and the more I got to know him, the more I wanted to know more.
- Warner. (The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi) Ahhhh, Warner. I have to admit, in Shatter Me, I wasn’t 100% sure why Warner had such an enormous fan base—I mean, yes, he was a great villain, but why all the swooning?
Then I read Destroy Me. And Unravel Me. And now I am 100% in camp swoon over Warner.
Again, what really drew me to him was the more I read about him, the more I began to understand him and the more he became a sympathetic antagonist. And I find that the more I understand about an antagonist, the harder it becomes to root for his demise, and to me, that’s a good thing.
- Khan. (Star Trek: Into Darkness variety) I’m not going to pretend to be a Trekkie, because I’m not, but if there’s one thing that I love, it’s smart characters—particularly of the ridiculously smart variety. And this is no different for antagonists. So basically that whole Spock/Khan trying to outwit each other bit was my favorite thing ever. (Plus that scene on Kronos? Awesome).
Back to smart antagonists: the reason I like them so much is because they’re genuinely difficult to beat. They don’t make stupid self-dooming mistakes, and they certainly don’t make it easy on the protagonist, which makes me that much more nervous for the protagonist and that much more desperate to find out how they finally defeat the antagonist.
- Moriarty. (Sherlock variety) Basically everything I said about Khan applies to Moriarty. Except on top of being a genius, he’s crazy eccentric, definitely a tad bit creepy and is totally unpredictable. I’d probably love him for any one of those traits, but combined altogether? Yes, please.
Who are your favorite villains from books, TV shows, movies, etc. and why?