- Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
- Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
- Nominate as many people as you want!
- Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!
Rachel’s prompt: Villains! Who are your top 5 fictional villains?
This is a great topic, and so interesting because my list contains both villains who are so evil that I would happily set them on fire if I were to ever meet them, and villains I found fascinating and complex and sympathized with. Here’s my list:
1. [Spoiler] (The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett). What’s so intriguing about this villain is that the only thing that might give them away as a villain for much of their first appearance in the series is that they’re almost too good to be true. Intelligent, devout, and attractive, with a beautiful voice, this character is liked by all. In fact, only the protagonist suspects the character for what they really are, and it means that Lymond’s behaviour towards the villain seems harsh. And then the reveal of just what the villain has done occurs…and things get worse. Maybe the only other villains I’ve read about who come close to this level of malevolence are Ramsay Snow and The Red Wedding scene, so that tells you something. I would set this villain on fire if I had the chance. Seriously.
2. Jaime Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin). Jaime has the ultimate in redemption arcs. He’s introduced having sex with his sister and pushing a boy off a tower (hoping to cause his death) in order to keep the incest a secret, and yet by book three he’s one of my favourite characters in the whole series! Part of the secret of this redemption is Martin’s use of P.O.V. chapters so we only get Jaime’s perspective on himself and what he’s done in A Storm of Swords, just as he goes through having to re-examine who he is after the loss of his sword hand. He’s a fabulously interesting character and my favourite villain redemption story.
3. Achren (The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander). Sure there’s a bigger bad in this Welsh mythology-based fantasy series for children, but I was always more interested in Achren, the enchantress, who has a lovely redemption arc. As the former Queen of Annuvin, she ruled as a harsh tyrant, but her throne was usurped by Arawn Death-Lord. Initially serving as a villain in the first and third books of the series, she bewitches the main female character, Eilonwy, in a bid to regain power, but is defeated. Achren becomes a reluctant ally to the protagonist and forces for good, but she retains her bitterness and cynicism. Still, she goes onto redeem herself through a final sacrifice to save another’s life, and finds peace at last in the destruction of Arawn. I haven’t read these books since I was young (although I think a re-read may be in the cards), but I remember being very taken with Achren.
(Note: Spoilers for the Watchmen graphic novel/movie)
4. Adrian Veidt aka. Ozymandias (Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons). The brilliant and wealthy former costumed hero is one of my favourite villains because he turns a trope on its head in one of the best plot twists I’ve ever seen. Faced with a world on the brink of nuclear war as Cold War hostilities between East and West intensified, he decided that the only way to avert nuclear war and unite the world was from a perceived outside threat, and faked an alien attack in New York with a psychic shockwave that would kill everyone in its path, totaling half of New York City. “When were you planning to do it?” his former teammates ask in a confrontation near the end of the graphic novel. “Do it? I’m not a republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I’d explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago,” Veidt explains. His justification of the death of millions is chilling.
5. Jadis, The White Witch and The Green Lady (Narnia by C.S. Lewis). I’m cheating a little by naming two here, but as a child I actually thought they were the same person, so it kind of counts? On a personal level, as someone who suffers from SAD, hates the cold, and who adores Christmas, cursing the whole of a country with eternal and unbreakable winter but no Christmas is one of the most horrible things a person can do, so Jadis is pretty scary. Also there are the whole humiliating and killing Aslan, turning people to stone, and luring a boy with sweets (kind of – depends on how you feel about Turkish Delight) things. I have strong memories of The Green Lady (the villain of The Silver Chair) and how scary my younger self found it when she used her hypnotic magic to dull the senses and critical thinking to very nearly convince our heroes that Narnia and the Earth don’t exist, only the underground domain. She also enslaves the Prince of Narnia after killing his mother, intending to use him for her own means to rule Narnia.
My listicle prompt: Non-human characters! Who are your top 5 non-human characters?
Or if you’ve read this and would like to do it, consider yourself tagged! Tag me back so I can see your answers. 🙂