10 Times Authors Nailed it With Fictional Villains

I love villains! And I say that with next to no shame. Nothing creates successful tension and plot like an evil heartless bastard at the center of it all. Today I am looking at 10 times the author really shined in villain crafting.

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10 Times Authors Nailed it With Fictional Villains


 

Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984. Okay, so this one is technically symbolic but no less villainous. Portrayed as the leader of a totalitarian state, Ocean, we are exposed to the Party which holds absolute control over society for its own benefit. Perhaps, this villain is most successful because it addresses relevant fears and themes.

“Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed- no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.”
~George Orwell, 1984

walderfreyWalder Frey from George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series easily lands a spot in my top 10 Villians. Boasting a terrible arsenal of crimes that range from murder and incest to incredibly horrible hospitality (can we say Red Wedding) this weasel leaves the reader feeling so violated that the hate flows naturally and uncontrollably.

 

Hal 9000 is a sentient computer in Arthur C. Clark’s 2001: A Space Odessy. There was something completely unsettling about this unlikely antagonist and his ever calm and light demeanor. What Hal 9000 lacks for in physical form, he makes up for in a very unnerving omniscient presence.

whitewitch

The White Witch is no stranger to many us. Appearing in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion,  Witch and The Wardrobe, she single-handedly stopped Christmas. Turning her many victims to stone, she is incredibly cruel and responsible for a large amount of unhappiness. As a child, I found this disheartening and terrifying. I still loathe her. I also still have an odd desire to experience Turkish Delight. Go figure.

Thomas Harris’ cannibalistic genius, Hannibal Lecter first appeared in Red Dragon, 1981. As if murder was not a heinous enough crime, Harris upped the ante by adding the element of cannibalism. Include Lecter’s ability to really tap into his victim’s psyche and the whole experience took the unsettling to a brand new level.

“When the fox hears the rabbits scream, he comes a-runnin, but not to help.”
~Hannibal Lecter, Thomas Harris

Amy Dunne from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl earns a spot for redefining femme fatale and running away with it! Brilliant and incredibly manipulative, she offers the reader many reasons to fear her. There is a part of me that was more terrified of the small amount of admiration I felt. The girl has skills.

Sauron

Sauron really needs no introduction, but for those of you who are incredibly behind the times, he was first mentioned in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit but best know for Lord of the Rings. Being of a higher order of Maiar and possessing divine powers, he seeks the 10th ring in order to wield its power to corrupt and destroy all that is good. And let us not forget his all-seeing eye. Frightening right?

Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. If being heartless qualifies one as a solid villain, I must award her with a spot today. After having her own heart broken, she takes in young Estella and raises her to do exactly that, break hearts.  Perhaps what is most evil here is that she seeks revenge for her own pain through the suffering of others with no regard to the consequence.

auntlydiaAunt Lydia from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale unnerves me on multiple fronts. Belonging to the Republic of Gilead, she is charged with overseeing and teaching the handmaids. Her techniques that range from cattle prods to many other torturous methods are used to enforce the horrendous rules and laws of the Republic of Gilead. Perhaps it is the thought of witnessing women take up sides against themselves that really did the trick here?

Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.
~The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Alex from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess takes the final spot today. While he could possibly be categorized as an antihero, I am including him for his sociopathic behavior and violent tendencies. Everything about Alex is morally wrong and worked in a stellar fashion to convey some heavy hitting themes.


Your turn! Which villains made the biggest impact on you, good or bad?

Let’s Chat!

Danielle ❤

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61 thoughts on “10 Times Authors Nailed it With Fictional Villains

  1. So, you know I LOVE the villain, this villain I kinda ended up with a weird kinda crush on as well and considering just how bad he is it just demonstrates just how weird I am and how big a bad boy complex I have. 😂
    Corvus from Godblind by Anna Stephens

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes Amy Dunne is a real gem haha. I’ve been trying to think of some villains but I’m terrible with names :-). The following books also have impressive MC’s that I still remember quite well even though I read them a while ago : The Perfect Girlfriend, The Good Samaritan and Rattle. All very good reads with the kind of villains I like, unsuspected citizens of society 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m practically shuddering looking at your picture of Aunt Lydia here. The actress who plays her is so good! And you’re right, seeing her as a woman engaging in this kind of behavior against other women is very unnerving – and fascinating! What sort of mental gymnastics is she doing in her twisted mind?

    Gillian Flynn writes excellent villains. Have you read Sharp Objects? There’s a really creepy one in there.

    Like

  4. “Sauron really needs no introduction, but for those of you who are incredibly behind the times” —-> incredibly behind the times… never could get into Lord of the Rings or Hobbit #ashamed. I think for a villian I’m going to go with Levan from the Lunar Chronicles that is one EVIL woman… *shivers*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If computer games count, I’d add Jon Irenicus from Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. He’s quite despicable and ruthless, experimenting on others, seeking vengeance against the elves of his homeland, and (spoiler!) stealing the player character’s soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooo, I love all these picks! I would add Judge Holden from Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo as two of my favorites 🙂 Holden because he’s almost like evil transformed into a force of nature, so you can’t reason or bargain with him. And Frollo because of the conflict clearly tearing him apart. Even as he does increasingly awful things I can’t help but sympathize with the pain behind it. Absolutely wonderful post 🙂 ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “evil heartless bastard” ha love it! The White Witch is a great one, and Sauron! I would add the Emperor from Star Wars or maybe Darth Vader. Amy dunne- your comment makes me want to go read the book!

    Aunt Lydia– aaahh she’s awful!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This post is brilliant! You picked quite an evil lot. HAHA. You´re so spot on with Walder Frey. The hate we develop for his character comes with ease. Lol. Although he´s a glorified dipshit I did enjoy his character.
    Hal 9000 – I thought he was the definition of creepy.
    The White Witch- I have yet to tell my kids about the White Witch. For me she belongs in the E.T. category ( worth running away while screaming ).
    Amy Dunne – Don´t get me started on her. I wrote a 2500 word review just on her character ( but never published it. Lol)
    I love that you added Alex to the list! I think he fits in just fine.
    Miss Havisham- She´s my and my bestie´s favorite character. So full of subtle viciousness. Totally brilliant.
    Aunt Lydia is just down right evil. She´d make my top 3 list.
    I love this post! ❤ ❤ It´s always a joy to see which character has made an impact on readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah yes I love villains too. Big Brother is a *brilliant* choice! And so agree about Walder Frey. Oh gosh yes to the White Witch (though I also get a craving for Turkish Delight every time I think of her). Oh yeah Amy’s a brilliant villain!! And Sauron is terrifying!! I so agree about Miss Havisham as well. Wonderful list!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Uh Oh I have only read two of these books, Gone Girl and Clockwork Orange. Maybe The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I can’t remember if I’ve read that one. Many are on my TBR though…the life long battle of keeping the TBR under control.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a lovely post idea, Danielle. I may use this idea and I will link my post back to your blog. Miss Haversham, yes, she is a villain but not one of Dickens’ worst. What about Mr Bumble from Oliver Twist – I shudder at the thought. The White Witch is a really good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Absolutely love this list!!! I mean, if I didn’t already know about all these cruel peepz, these would totally be instantly added to my TBR hahaha Love that Big Brother was in there though. Definitely a hell of a villain that we don’t want in society! I would have probably put Moriarty in there too!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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