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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.