Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are making lists of the top ten most awful, evil, sadistic, and pretty much all-around bad villains from our favorite books. I got really excited about this one, because a great villain can sometimes be what makes or breaks a book for me. So, without further ado:
Kat's Top-Ten Literary Nasties
1. Lord Voldemort (aka Tom Riddle; He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; the Dark Lord) from Harry Potter
Good ol' Voldy. You know you like Harry Potter fanfiction too much when you find yourself calling him that as you read the actual books. (Guilty as charged. :) ) Voldemort was practically born bad. He kills hundreds if not thousands of muggles and wizard kind, including Harry's parents, with his wand and in his name, and not once does he show even a speck of remorse. He has a pet snake Nagini, a seven-part soul, and a horde of loyal masked Death Eaters willing to torture, kill, and pillage in his name.
Evil-ness Bonus: He's really good with the anagrams.
2. Mrs. Coulter from The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
I saw our host blog also listed her, and I have to say that I agree-- Mrs. Coulter definitely more than makes the list. Her golden monkey daemon is creepy in a way I find particularly disturbing (given that I've been terrified of apes and monkeys since seeing Planet of the Apes). There is something very evil about an intelligent, seemingly beautiful, and kind woman who lures young children to horrible ends. And I don't want to leak any spoilers for readers who haven't read the books, but Mrs. Coulter is also my favorite character in the series. Sometimes the villain is my favorite, and in this case Mrs. Coulter is involved in so many shocking twists and story revelations that it was difficult to know where she stood at any one point in the series. Therefore I'll say that Mrs. Coulter isn't always malevolent, but when she's bad-- she's bad.
Evil-ness Bonus: She lives in a cute little apartment filled with flowers and makes her ward Lyra take frequent bathes-- now that's evil.
3. Count Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Count is one of the most famous literary villains of all time, and he's well-deserving of the honor. Being able to transform into a bat, moth, or wolf at will and the whole blood-drinking angle is creepy enough. But the way Dracula seduces Lucy and Mina is what makes him truly terrifying. There are a lot of 'Neo-Dracula' books being released lately-- has anyone read iDracula or Dracula, My Love?
Evil-ness Bonus: He has three creepy, gorgeous vampiric sisters, and he's crossed over into the realm of movies more than a few times.
4. Count Olaf from The Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket
Another favorite character who is a bad-a** villain. Sure, Olaf kidnaps the Baudelaire orphans countless times, murders many of their friends and family-- not excluding their poor parents-- and sets countless fires. But he's also one of the quirkiest, most bizarre, hilarious book villains of all time. The things he says have a tendency to make me snort out loud and repeat said line to the nearest person. I also love his girlfriend, Esme Squalor, though she didn't make the list. If you haven't read these books, read them! and don't think you're too old for them-- heck, I still read Roald Dahl and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Evilness Bonus: Olaf is capable of disguising himself beyond the recognition of any adult and advanced computers, just by putting on a phony accent and covering the eye-shaped tattoo on his ankle.
5. Drake Merwin from the Gone series by Micheal Grant
I must now do what I promised myself I wouldn't do, and throw in a villain that few people will probably recognize. Since many people aren't familiar with the fantastic Gone series, it's long story short about a world where all the adults have suddenly vanished and the kid and teenage population of Perdido Beach are left to their own devices. Some of the kids also start developing strange, supernatural powers. Sounds fun, right? Kids getting along, sharing resources, no going to school, superpowers... well, there's always gotta be one. Drake Merwin is fourteen years old and was sent to a private academy for strange and 'troubled' kids after he shot his neighbor. He's a sadist, owns a half-dozen guns he's all too happy to use, and is by far the scariest kid on Perdido Beach. Drake manages to be more terrifying than the series' primary villain, Caine Soren, even without any supernatural power. I am now resisting the urge to spew spoilers and blabber about what might happen in the next book.
Evil-ness Bonus: His name comes from the Latin word for 'dragon' and has connotations of 'demon'.
6. Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series
I have to include dear Bella. The woman who was in love with Lord Voldemort... need I say more? Voldemort's lieutenant is one wicked witch. She tortures poor Neville's parents past the brink of sanity and spends years in Azkaban, throughout which her loyalty to the Dark Lord never once wavers. And she's pretty insane herself. In the movies, Bellatrix is played by the awesome, amazing, lovely, incredible, etc Helena Bonaham Carter. Evil-ness Bonus: The. Hair.
7. President Snow from the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins-- I call him 'Creepy Man'. (Major fangirl/boy bonus points if you know where that nickname comes from.) The image of President Snow, ruler of a corrupt nation, standing at a podium with a white handkerchief pressed to his lips and a pale rose in his lapel... this is one horrid fictional character. It's difficult to go on about exactly how evil he is without giving away major spoilers, but all I can say is that by the third book I was with Katniss 100% : Snow needed to go. I can't wait to see who will play him in the movie.
Evil-ness Bonus: His indoor rose garden in Mockingjay.
8. Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare-- For me, Valentine is a sort of mash-up between Darth Vader and Voldemort from the Harry Potter series-- he wants to eradicate a species he believes is lesser to glorify himself and has undeniable familial ties to the hero and heroine. That said, his obsession with killing Downworlders, even at the cost of losing his own family and fellow Shadowhunters, definitely lands Valentine a spot on the list. His last scene in City of Glass- (with Jace and Clary by the lake, I can say no more)-- literally gave me chills. Everyone's already speculating about who will play him in the movie, since City of Bones is being made into a film as well.
Evil-ness Bonus: He summons countless demons to wage war and terror on the city of Alicante. Enough said.
9. Artemis Fowl from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer-- Sometimes the villain doubles as a hero. Artemis makes his entrance in the first book and comes across as pretty darn evil-- I mean, he's planning to steal a few tons of faerie gold and he's not afraid to kidnap a faerie in order to get it. Yet he's obviously a child genius, a complex and fairly awesome study in contrasts. I love watching his relationship with Holly Short progress over the books... and I really need to read The Atlantis Complex. Even though Artemis is occasionally more than a little villainous, it's difficult to hate him when he has the loyalty of his uber-bodyguard Butler-- my favorite character in the series.
Evil-ness Bonus: The twist at the very end of the first book. Now that's genius, even for Artemis.
10. Ridley from the Castor Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness are two fantastic books with a lot of strong points--the atmosphere, the hero and heroine, the number of pages-- but I never thought bad guys was one of them. Sarafine is Lena's mother and fairly evil, or so we're told. But she actually only makes about two appearances in both books combined. No, it's Ridley who steals the show in this series. Ah, Lollipop Girl. The sweet-talking Siren with the pink streaks in her hair and the penchant for darkness. The instant she made her entrance in Beautiful Creatures, I remember thinking 'Things are about to get worse.' And better. Ridley really sets Gatlin on fire, and she only gets better in the sequel. I can't wait to see how her thing with Link works out.
Evil-ness Bonus: The nicknames she gives the guys-- and Liv-- are worthy of Sawyer Ford from Lost.