This month’s theme is Super Villains, which means that I obviously have to write about some of the top villains in the literature world. Now, since I am a non-YA blogger for the IGGPPC, I am only focusing on non-YA villains. I do, however, have a few “honorable mentions” at the end that have some of my favorite villains from children’s and YA literature, as well.
Villains really are my favorite topic when it comes to the literary and film world because I simply love them. It comes with the whole “being an INTJ” thing, I guess, but villains are quite incredible. Now, before I go into a whole long blog about why they are oh-so-awesome, let’s get started with a list of some of the top super villains in non-YA literature!
1. Alex (A Clockwork Orange)
Of course, I would feature Alex, wouldn’t I? When it comes to psychos in literature, he is one of the first to pop into someone’s mind. So is Pat Bateman, but I’ll get to him later. Alex starts out as a young 14-year-old kid with a love of mischief, mayhem, and overall harm to others. His story progresses through a series of rather unfortunate events no villain wants to experience. Alex’s life and story are really intense, but he has become quite the pop and counterculture icon!
2. Big Brother (1984)
While we never meet this particular bad dude, we do see his “face” everywhere and are constantly reassured that he is watching. If you’ve never read George Orwell’s incredible political dystopian, you definitely should. Big Brother stands out as quite the bad guy with all of his control and hatred over certain aspects of life, and it is rather terrifying to think that someone, anyone, is watching, and will judge one based on his or her actions.
What is a list of top villainous people without Dracula? Yes, sure, he is often listed, but he is the epitome of terrible vampy villainy. He needs blood to get and stay younger, and he is just plain sick and tired of the blood he is able to get. Naturally, he decides England is the best place to get the blood he desires and packs up his cemetery dirt, a few coffins, and ships out. He finally arrives, after eating lots of people on the way. He then starts to terrorize England before he is finally stopped. The book can be slow, up until the end, but it is still a worthwhile read.
4. Sauron (The Lord of the Rings)
There isn’t much to be said about the evilness of Sauron – we all know from the start that the dude is plain evil and that’s that. He has a thing for absolute power and doesn’t want to let go whatsoever. To maintain control, he creates the One Ring, and we all know what happens next. He might be a bit over the top and seem like a way too obvious pick for this, but I think he is an absolute given on any “epic baddie from literature.” (I also might be a bit biased as Lord of the Rings is my FAVORITE fantasy series.)
5. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)
American Psycho – a book and film that is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. The book is incredibly violent, and I found myself having a really hard time reading it. Pat Bateman is known for as many violent acts as possible, and as the story continues, he gets more and more violent. We learn more about late 80s, early 90s rich dude entitlement, and it gets pretty overwhelming, especially Bateman’s hatred and treatment of the poor and of women. I don’t recommend this book for anyone who has a lot of triggers for things like sexual violence.
6. Tywin Lannister and Every Other Lannister, Too (A Song of Ice and Fire)
Tywin Lannister embodies a lot of the Slytherin creed, and I think he is one of the top cunning villains in the literature world. He knows what he wants, and he will do whatever he can to obtain it. Sometimes his actions are obvious, other times people never notice when he is up to something. And really, we can count a few other Lannisters in on this, too. Many of that house seem to be pretty terrible, yet awesome. I’m forever allied with House Targaryen, but the Lannisters are a close second.
7. Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes)
Now, this is a villain I adore, whether in the books or in TV/film adaptations. Moriarty is an excellent example of a bad guy who can get what he wants however he wants (or she if you watch Elementary). Moriarty is the perfect villain and worthy of being the opponent of Sherlock Holmes (though it would be a major stretch to say that Sherlock is anywhere near being a hero). Moriarty vs. Sherlock isn’t usually the traditional bad vs. good, and I love that.
8. Cthulhu (H. P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu)
Have you read Lovecraft? If not, you really should. His monsters are epic, and many are really great literary baddies. However, the monster that stands out the most is the infamous Cthulhu. You don’t want to mess with him, and anytime you hear his name mentioned, you should just turn right around and run the other way (if you can). He is classic Lovecraft-evil.
9. Croup and Vandemar (Neverwhere)
These two from Neverwhere sure do chill one’s blood whenever they pop up. They are cruel and calculating with a desire to maim and kill as they hunt down their prey. Anthony Head and David Schofield help to make these two absolutely terrifying when you listen to the BBC 4 radio broadcast, and each fits their roles perfectly. Although, I do keep waiting to hear Mr. Croup yell something about sorcery…
10. Grendel (Beowulf)
Grendel, considered to be a descendant of Cain (the world’s “first” murderer), is one of the three different baddies in Beowulf. He is violent and hates everything, but there is one major catch. While everyone is terrified of him, the only person who isn’t is Beowulf. Grendel’s character is often debated on what type of monster he is, what his over-arching role in the Anglo-Saxon saga is, and so on, but he does stand out as an awesome contender for one of the top super villains in the literary world!
Honorable Mentions for Non-YA, YA, and Children’s Lit Villains
I just couldn’t leave these out because some of these awesome baddies are my absolute favorite. They are:
• Mrs. Coulter (His Dark Materials)
• Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)
• Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter)
• Jadis/The White Witch (Chronicles of Narnia)
• Norman Bates (Psycho)
• Smaug (The Hobbit)
• The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)
• HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
While I love these amazing literary villains, I also really love many different film or television baddies. There are seriously so many out there whether in contemporary literature, fantasy, science fiction, film, TV, or video games that it is too hard to list them all. I know I obviously missed some great ones in all genres and media types, so let me know which ones I missed and why they are your favorites! Heck, you can even write up your own blog post and link to it so I can check out your favorite bad guys.