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Six for Sunday – Literary Villains

Six Sinister Villains

I hope you have had a lovely weekend! Today’s six for Sunday is focused on some of my favourite villains from literature. Let’s face it, we all love a good villain. Our heroes would be nothing without them. Common villainous traits include a sinister background, an ultimate goal and above-average levels of intellect. What I find most interesting though is whether the character can be defined as truly evil. A villain who is cruel with obvious malicious intent is very different from the ones who seem a lot more human, almost normal.

I have been very careful as to my selection because although there are some other fantastic villains I would love to share, I don’t want to spoiler people that haven’t read the books. Sometimes we don’t find out who the true villain is until the end of a book and I would never want to rob anyone of discovering certain characters for themselves.

Professor Umbridge – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I think Dolores is at the top of a lot of readers hit lists! Even Stephen King described her as “the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter”. She is a deplorable human being; sadistic, cruel and condescending. Plus who has kittens do their evil bidding?!

The White Witch – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

A classic children’s villain and one that I grew up afraid of. That may have been as much to do with the BBC version as the actual books. Turning people to stone is not a good hobby for a sane person, so there is problem one. Problem two, I have great issues with the idea of a permanent Winter with no Christmas. C.S. Lewis’ books all feature a religious undertone and Jadis certainly has a devil like quality when she lures Edmund away from his siblings.

Iago – Othello

Iago is, in my opinion, the best villain in the complete works of Shakespeare. He is calculated, manipulative and all whilst wearing a friendly smile. I desperately want to see David Tennant as Iago, he would be unbelievable. If you know the play, think about that casting and try to tell me I am wrong!

Moriarty – Sherlock Holmes

Another classic villain. Moriarty falls into the criminal mastermind category of villains. He is an machiavellian evil genius who is ruthless and has lost his sense of morality. In The Final Problem Sherlock Holmes himself states “A criminal strain ran in his blood”.

Amarantha – A Court of Thorns and Roses

The main antagonist of the book and definitely falling into the ‘evil’ category of villain. Amarantha is all about power and control. Interestingly, we don’t actually find out the full horrors of what she has done until book two A Court of Mist and Fury. I find that very unusual. When we find out the true extent of what she has done and how it impacts the characters involved, it makes her so much worse. I won’t say more because of spoilers.

Hannibal – Hannibal

One of Stephen King’s scariest villains. The sheer gap of intellect between him and his victims creates a sense of inevitability. A terrifying villain as you know that you would never be able to escape him. I remember being on holiday in France as a kid and my mum waking up screaming on more than one occasion. She was reading Hannibal at the time!


That’s my six for Sunday! I would love to know your favourite bookish villains in the comments!

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  • 8th October 2018 at 8:22 am

    Umbridge is my favourite villain ever. I think the thing that makes her so evil and such a good villain is that she honestly believes that she’s doing the right thing, and is the hero of the story.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

    • 8th October 2018 at 8:30 am

      Yes! Her belief that she is one of the good guys is so scary. The fact her morality is so twisted that she feels justified in every action she takes… she really gets under my skin!

  • 8th October 2018 at 8:37 am

    I’ve never hated a character as much as I hate Delores Umbridge. I think she’s so bad because we’ve all had a teacher, boss, or parent like Umbridge. Iago is also so underrated

    • 8th October 2018 at 8:58 am

      I hope your teachers weren’t quite as bad as Umbridge! There are definitely characteristics that can be seen in every day life. I think that is why fictional villains are so important though, they help us to see what is wrong and give us the courage to stand against it.

  • 8th October 2018 at 8:45 am

    My favorite villain from this list is probably Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes. He just so evil and intelligent.

    • 8th October 2018 at 9:02 am

      I love Andrew Scott’s Moriarty as well as the literary character. He is a genius. I wonder who would win between Hannibal and Moriarty. Both trying to out maneuver the other…

  • 8th October 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Loved this!

    • 11th October 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 14th October 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I have to admit that Hannibal scares me the most because he is realistic and can be easily placed in our society. Thereโ€™s something eerie about people eating people even if itโ€™s a survival thing and the victim died of natural causes.

    • 17th October 2018 at 6:26 pm

      I remember watching the film ‘Alive’ when I was younger and that really creeped me out. I have an overactive imagination at the best of times let alone when things are based on real life! So I definitely know what you mean. Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 15th October 2018 at 7:25 pm
    Rachel Hart

    Umbridge is definitely a character who I think everyone loves to hate!
    I agree with @thisdreamsalive, I think everyone can relate to having someone like that in their life at some point which makes it easy to dislike her as a character. Especially when she believes what she is doing is morally correct!
    Maybe the people in our lives aren’t quite as exaggerated, but similar in one way or another.
    Great post, thanks for sharing!
    ~ Ray

    • 17th October 2018 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you for reading & commenting ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely think a lot of people feel like she is a caricature version of someone they have come across in their lives. I’m really looking forward to the day I come across a character I hate as much as Umbridge:)

  • 20th October 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Yes! Dolores Umbridge is my favorite villain ever! She is the villain I love to hate the most. I despise her even more than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

    • 20th October 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Yes! I know he is supposed to be the ‘big bad’ but I find him a lot less scary than some of his supporters. Maybe because we learn more about him and how he became the person he did. Dolores though has not redeeming qualities whatsoever! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚


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