Villains always make books more interesting… but in some cases, they’re just SO good we can’t help but prefer them to the protagonist.
Here’s our most loved villains from literature:
13) Tyler Durden – Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk)
Girls love the bad boy and guys want to be the bad boy.
A strong leader who used his savvy sabotage to attain his dominance. We are all guilty of holding onto his calloused hand and letting him lead us to the entrance of the club that we don’t talk about… did you complain? We certainly didn’t.
Everyone likes a rebel and Tyler would be the first one to jump, would you follow? The real question should be, would you burn for him?
12) Alex Delarge – A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)
He’s a murderer, rapist and psychopath who’s preferred beverage is a glass of drug riddled milk – not to mention his questionable choice of apparel.
So why DO we like him? He certainly paid for his crimes. Perhaps we don’t really like him, it could just be intrigue. “It’s wrong because it’s, like, against society". One thing’s for sure, it’s a real ‘orror show.
11) Carrie – Carrie (Stephen King)
Who can blame the girl for wanting her revenge? You could argue that she isn’t really a villain as her powers are not fully controlled by herself. But she's real, she’s bullied and she feels emotion. Margret should be the main villain.
Perhaps a simple slap on the cheek would have sufficed rather than the blood bath we ended up with, but… eh, everyone has their own degree of revenge. Hers was just rather extreme.
10) Captain Hook – Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie)
A man with a vengeance against little Peter. So, he would kill him if he got the chance, that does technically make him the villain, but can you blame him? We have to feel for old hook a little. No hand, a giant croc chasing him 24/7 and a young boy who is not only to blame but still insists on haunting him every waking moment with his sassy flying and annoying cockerel screeches. No wonder he wants to plunge his hook in him. Does that make him a cod fish? We think not.
9) The Grinch – The Grinch (Dr. Seuss)
He’s a nasty creature, but again, what do you expect? Bullied by the kids, his crush finds him repulsive and let’s not forget he is green and hairy. His hatred is at least accounted for. Ultimately we see the Grinch’s true colours by saving the day and all of the Whos in Whoville. Still… we loved the hairball when he was a moaning monster.
8) Sweeney Todd – Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (James Malcolm Rymer)
Oh, we do love the demon barber. It’s yet another classic revenge tale. The slaughter of innocent people does leave him killing his true love, but he’s angry for a perfectly good reason. The judge was a nasty fellow for shipping him off, trying to seduce his wife and imprisoning his only child. But do we all deserve to die? Maybe not.
Anyone for a pie?
7) Severus Snape – Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)
“Always” – That’s why we love him so. Yes, he had some wicked ways; hating Harry for his likeliness to his father n’all. But he proved his loyalty from the beginning from the counter curse at the first quidditch game until the last memory. He was there rooting for Harry all along.
Would we want him as our potions teacher? Perhaps not. But, if you have green eyes, you may be luckier!
6) The Joker – Batman (Bob Kayne)
Possibly one of the most loved movie villains of all time: with Jack Nicholson’s clowning Joker who danced, laughed and did the most terrible things, Heath’s anarchist, riddled with charming insanity… addictive to watch! To Jared Leto’s most recent portrayal. The gangster with a heart. More human than previous takes proven by his caring attitude towards Quinn. Why do we love the Joker? He loves to tease. He does unforgivable things for no reason but he still likes to play with his food. He’s intriguing and unpredictable… and even wins sometimes.
5) Patrick Bateman – American Psycho (Bret Eastern Ellis)
He’s completely psychotic, as the title would suggest. But he has no reason to be that way. No strive for revenge. It is more of a need to kill, an obsession. Because of his cold hearted, murderous nature we should hate him without question; but we don’t.
On the outside he blends in beautifully. Pressed suit, tongue-in-cheek, funny, elegant, fashionable, healthy, aesthetically pleasing and charming. Attractive to woman and admirable to men. It’s the little things that annoy him. As long as he keeps his knife and axe tucked safely into his suit and briefcase I’m sure we would all accept an invitation from him to dine at Dorsia.
Note: Just don’t bring out a business card. Especially not one with a watermark.
4) Moriarty – Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
Obsession is so very interesting to watch and read. He’s unpredictable and has a manipulative nature. His arrogance and intelligence make him addictive - no wonder Sherlock found him to be his most challenging opponent. He’s difficult to read, which makes him all the more entertaining.
3) Jack/John – The Shining (Stephen King)
He’s so normal at the start… watching his journey to complete and utter insanity is shocking, but it makes a great read. Who would have thought the loving father, husband and caretaker would turn into a mallet (axe in the book) wielding mad man. Never trust anyone.
You can’t take your eyes off the page, his murderous turn is terrifyingly entertaining. But we WANT him to be good, to return to normality and realise what a monster he has become. Which, he sort of does in the book. It’s the shining that is playing with his mind, so, we’re allowed to like him… right?
2) Dracula – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Bram Stoker)
A long winded tale of revenge… we’re noticing a pattern here.
When his beast/fanged side isn’t showing, he’s really quite charming. Romantic and fuelled by lost love. The entire vampire story is compelling without the sad backstory. Thus it being so common in contemporary culture. It’s fascinating – HE’S fascinating. Of course, we’re naturally drawn towards supernatural creations, they’re interesting and unusual. Who wouldn’t want to read more about a creature who thrives off the blood of the living?
1) Hannibal – Red Dragon (Thomas Harris)
The ultimate villain. Polite, intelligent, alluring and extremely dangerous.
To be honest, if we met him in person and had no idea of his eating habits, we would likely trust him. We have to actually stop reading at times to remind ourselves that this man might just eat us if he got the chance.
The question is, is he insane? He’s so clever to come to a logical conclusion to that question is increasingly onerous. His deceptive nature soon becomes apparent. But his entire character is surprisingly normal. A lover of art, fine wines and if he can get his hands on it, your liver.
Now we’ve mentioned the villains we love to hate, here’s some we just hate:
Nurse Ratchet (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest)
Professor Dolores Umbridge – (Harry Potter)
Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)
Do you agree, we’d love to know!