Top Ten Tuesday | Villains, Anti-Heroes & Other Nasties

top ten tuesday

Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

Today’s topic is a freebie, meaning you can make up a topic on your own and go with it! I went through the list of previous topics and the website, and I found Villains, Criminals & Other Nasties and I knew that I just had to do it. I’m very passionate about villains and anti-heroes. If a book/series has good baddies, chances are that I’ll love the series twice as much as I would otherwise.

My picks are in a general order, meaning that it’s not concrete.

10. Victor & Eli from Vicious by V.E. Schwab

vicious

Okay, these are two characters if you couldn’t tell, but I feel like you can’t separate one from the other. They are both anti-heroes, and they both make terrible decisions, and I know people favor one over the other. Personally, I was Team Victor throughout the novel, but I still see him as an antihero, if not full on villain. But Eli was also a great character- very nuanced, very crazy. Just how I like my villains.

9. Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

cohf

I love Sebastian. I think he’s so completely twisted and insane, and even though I usually like it when villains have a reason as to why they are how they are, this twistedness just worked for Sebastian. He was ruthless, and he would make cracks at the most inappropriate times, and I loved it. I do wish that Cassie had left his character the way it was, but I did really enjoy him when he was the Big Bad in the series. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- Chris Wood is the PERFECT Sebastian Morgenstern.

8. Naughty John from The Diviners by Libba Bray

the diviners

Not only is Naughty John super super creepy (even his name sounds creepy), but he does this little whistle/song thing before he ruthlessly kills his victims. Can we just appreciate him in all his bad-assery.

7. Arobynn Hamel from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

tog

I love Arobynn. I think he’s a great villain. He has multiple layers to him; he’s calm and composed and manipulative. He has a way with words like no other. He keeps people under his control and makes sure they know that they are HIS property, and I think that’s awesome. I’m bitter about how things went down with him later in the series, but oh well. He kind of reminds me of Jaxon Hall from the Bone Season by Sarah J. Maas, but I’d like to see more of Jaxon before labeling him as an outright ‘villain.’

6. Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice & Fire by George R.R. Martin

game of thrones

I think the greatest thing about Cersei is that you hate her, and you know she’s the baddie, but you still totally understand why she does what she does. Especially in Feast of Crows (the fourth book in the series), you even begin to feel sorry for her in a way. GRRM is great at writing Cersei, because she’s a person more than a villain. You don’t feel totally alienated from her, which is why she’s so terrifying and impressive.

5. Joffrey Baratheon from A Song of Ice & Fire by George R.R. Martin

sos

Along the same lines, I decided to include Joffrey in this. I know a lot of people hate Joffrey, and he’s probably one of the most despised characters in literature and TV, but I loved him as a character. I also think it’s very interesting how different Cersei and Joffrey are in terms of characterization, even though they’re both villains. Whereas Cersei is like the quiet predator, Joffrey is outright hateful. Cersei is cold and collected, but Joffrey is just like “off with his head.” Joffrey is literally and figuratively a bastard. I absolutely HATE him, but I LOVE him as a villain and as a contribution to the series.

4. The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone

I fell in love with the Darkling as soon as he came on the page in the first book. He’s such an intriguing character. You know those villains where you know they’re the baddie of the book, but you’re still left wondering if there’s more to them? The Darkling is the perfect depiction of that. If the Darkling was the protagonist of the series, he would not be the villain, and I think that’s awesome.

3. Mayor Prentiss from the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

knife

The thing about this series is that you’re not sure whose side you’re on. You’re constantly wondering who the Big Bad is, who’s in the right, who to team up with. It doesn’t help that our two protagonists are divided as well throughout, and one by one, Patrick Ness lets his readers put the puzzle pieces together and decide for themselves. That’s the reality and brutality of civil war- you’re never sure where you stand. But while I loved/loathed Mistress Coyle, Mayor Prentiss intrigued me so much more. He is the most manipulative, calculating, intelligent villain I’ve ever read. EVER.

2. Voldemort / Tom Riddle from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

hp

Voldemort. What can I say about Voldemort, except that I hate him. I hate him so freaking much, but I love him too because he’s ruthless, cruel and relentless. He will do anything and everything to get what he wants. He has no concept of love or mercy or friendship or family. He has NEVER had this concept. He’s full of hatred and disgust. And he’s absolutely terrifying. I loved how J.K. Rowling gave him additional layers by showing her readers what his childhood and adolescence was like. I loved how as a teenager, Voldemort was the star student– intelligent, charming, respectful. I loved how he was similar to our protagonist in so many ways. You wouldn’t expect that to happen, but it’s so fascinating that the hero and the villain went through so many of the same things, but one is inherently good, and the other is inherently evil. Love it.

1. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

harry potter

So Malfoy lovers, hear me out. I love him too. I think Malfoy is one of the most nuanced, complex characters in the Harry Potter series. When I was younger, I remember absolutely hating him- he was mean and arrogant and a bully. Indeed, Draco was one of the nastiest characters in the first few books- but as I grew older and reread the books, I realized that J.K. Rowling was doing something very interesting with his character. I can write an entire essay about Draco. In the sixth book, we start to see Draco stepping into something much darker than just bullying vulnerable people. But despite this darkness, you get to see HIS vulnerable side for the first time too. By the seventh book, Jo puts him in situations that leave the reader stunned. So yeah, even though Draco is – and will probably remain – a bully and just plain nasty, he’s still a wonderful, brilliant, complex character who’s trying to make his way into the world under the shade of the evil past of his parents. K, rant over.

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  • Love your thoughts on Draco, he has always been one of my favourite Harry Potter characters, misunderstood villains are hard to get right but Jo developed the character of Malfoy so brilliantly!

    • THANK YOU! I was afraid nobody was going to read my long paragraphs, so I love you for not only reading it but agreeing. And yes. Much like JK Rowling gets frustrated by girls falling in love with Draco, I get frustrated too because he’s still not a great person, just a fantastic character! :3

  • I love this list idea! I agree with your choices that I’ve read. I keep seeing Patrick Ness on lists. I haven’t read him yet. I need to try one of his books out soon!

    • Thank you! And yes, you need to try his Chaos Walking trilogy. Absolutely brilliant!

      • Good to know! I am going to add it to my TBR list! 🙂

  • I totally agree on Sebastian Morgenstern!!!

  • Love your list! I love The Darkling too! I just finished Ruin and Rising and was almost a little sad how it ended.

    • Thank you so much!

      I was sad too, but I didn’t really see the series ending any other way. So even though I was upset, I also really loved the ending unlike a lot of people. xD

  • Great list 😀 I loved the Darkling too – definitely a character you can’t help but love and want more of! And – YESS!! to your thoughts on Draco Malfoy. I felt for him at some points, even though he’s a nasty toad!

  • I hate Arobynn he makes my skin crawl, with his manipulating assholeness!! And I love Voldemort!! He is my favourite villain! Did you hear the other week that J.K came out and said that she actually planned for Voldemort’s name to be pronounced with a silent T?? When I read that I was like – we all fail as fans😩 Lol!!

    • LOL yes, I heard about that. 😞 But I don’t feel too bad since she could have corrected it in the movies but she didn’t. So…

      • Amy

        Yeah that’s what I was like!! She had years to correct them!

  • of course Voldemort! And I love that you included Malfoy here! My TTT

  • Great list! I can’t resist a good anti-hero or villain. I’m looking forward to “meeting” the two from Vicious especially.

    Check out my TTT.

  • I love this topic! And I totally agree with so many of these. Aroybynn is absolutely a villain I loathe with my entire being but he is such a good villain. I was thrilled with Sebastian when reading The Mortal Instruments!
    xoxo 😊

    • Yes! Arobynn made my skin crawl, but that’s what I love about a good villain- they have to evoke this sheer disgust and hatred out of you! 😀

  • I haven’t actually met Arobynn yet, having not read Queen of Shadows or The Assassin’s Blade, but I’m looking forward to it! Voldemort was on my list when I did the same topic a while ago.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/top-ten-tuesday-22/

  • I like this TTT! Villains are the best in books! And yesss, Victor and Eli. I wouldn’t call neither of them villains but they’re both great.

    • Yes, yes, they’re definitely the perfect embodiments of The Anti-Hero trope. 🙂 Thank you so much! x

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