Woohoo I’m so excited for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday’s topic: Favourite villains (you can find the T5W group here). This is going to sound rather strange, but I love villains! I find them fascinating when well constructed. There is serious writing skill when mention of the villain makes you shudder, or moan internally, or get irrationally angry. I just love them. Below are my favourite villains, all of which are (I believe) remarkably constructed. And, as always, they are in no particular order.
You may notice that there are two images above. Well that’s because Clive Barker is amazing and has released an illustrated edition of his book Abarat, including an image of Christopher Carrion, one creepy bad guy. Also known as The King of Midnight, Carrion is described as being “as evil as evil comes.” See that funky collar? See the squiggles inside? Those are his nightmares, physically manifested, which he uses to torture people. So he’s not the nicest guy around. But, the best thing about Carrion is his history and back-story (which I shan’t spoil, don’t worry). He’s dynamic, three-dimensional, and certainly unique.
Next is Grendel’s Mother from Beowulf, who is one of my favourite literary characters ever. I could go on and on about her, and I did in an essay for uni. She is a character who is defined by her love for her son Grendel, so much that she is only referred to by her relation to him. I find her fascinating in that she is driven by her maternal instinct and motherhood, but throughout the poem she is referred to using masculine adjectives and nouns and is put on the same level as the male characters (remember this is a poem written back when men were seen as being more dominant than women, so this is significant). It’s very interesting looking at the power she holds, both physical and mental in this society. Plus she kicks ass and that’s always fun.
This next villain is one I discovered only this year. I’m not sure if she’s technically a “villain” but she’s certainly creepy, obsessive, spends way too much time reminiscing in the unused part of a Gothic mansion, and is horrible to the protagonist … I’m talking, of course, about Mrs Danvers from Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. As mentioned above, this character is super creepy and remains obsessed with the former Mrs DeWinter, Rebecca, who passed away. She makes life very uncomfortable for the new Mrs DeWinter and does some things that are truly frightening.
This next villain is truly terrifying and indulges himself in extremely grotesque and perverted acts, which I shall not name here because it’s seriously messed up, disturbing and horrific. If you’re curious, look out for the Walrus from Christina Henry’s Alice. He is utterly terrifying, to the extent that I had to take several days break from reading this incredible horror story, just to gather myself! I’ve chosen to include him in my top 5 because it’s rare that a villain will disturb me so, and he’s written in a way that doesn’t feel like a cheap scare trick. He feels real … which is a horrifying thought.
Ever encounter a character who makes you irrationally angry? Who is so well written, that you can’t help but grind your teeth as they justify their actions in a way that is logical and absolutely makes sense to them? That’s pretty much every Ken Follett villain I’ve read so far, but Brother Godwyn from World Without End is so fantastically constructed that I love to hate him. He’s ambitious, he’s undermining, and worse, he thinks he’s doing the right thing! He thinks he’s a good guy! He thinks … guys, guys, I’m getting angry, I gotta stop. He’s an awesome character … the jerk.
So there you have it, my top 5 villains. Do you share any of these? What are your top 5? I’d love to hear your thoughts!