This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Villains (favorite, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc.). I decided to spotlight memorable villains from books I read as a child. You know, the ones that kept me up late at night thinking or the ones that even after all these years I can still distinctly picture in my head even if I haven’t read the book in years.
Sauron, from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: This one is a no-brainer. Even before I watched Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations, Sauron was a scary thought in my mind. The all seeing eye, the lord of the rings. He’s one of the big baddies, and later, I learned he’s not even the worst villain in Middl-earth history!
Smaug, from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: Right up there with Sauron is none other than Smaug the Terrible. Because he’s a dragon, I have a soft spot for good ole Smaug. Yes, he’s a villain, but he’s a great villain. Just reading his clever conversation with Bilbo is enough to satisfy me.
The White Witch, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: Being one of the titular characters from my favorite children’s book series ever, the White Witch has always been scary. She looks beautiful and majestic, but her cold heart and intentions really chilled me to the bone as a kid.
Captain Hook, from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: Whether it was the animated version or Dustin Hoffman’s version in Hook, Captain Hook has always been a favorite villain. There is just something about pirates that I love, and Hook is great.
Galbatorix, from the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini: I remember reading Eragon and Eldest and thinking how evil Galbatorix was, especially with his army of urgals and shades. He really doesn’t show up until the later books, but his shadowed presence makes him formidable in my mind.
IT, from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Maybe it’s because IT just sounds terrifying, but I hated this villain when I first read A Wrinkle in Time. I couldn’t stand that Charles Wallace gives in and is controlled by IT. The Man with Red Eyes is spooky too.
Kronos, from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan: Any titan or god-like being would be a noteworthy adversary, but one that slowly comes back from Tartarus out of rage and revenge and takes over the body of a misguided boy? Kronos, you take the cake on this one. That is until Gaia reawakens to wreck havoc upon the Earth…
Count Olaf, from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: While not as dark or as powerful, Count Olaf still struck an imposing figure against the Bauldelaire orphans. I have to give him credit for his creativity and his perserverance to do whatever it took to get his hands on the fortune. A part of me thinks he deserved a better ending, and I’m still reeling at the events of The End.
Pretender, from Dragonkeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul: I don’t recall everything from these books, which makes me think I need to reread them soon, but I can still picture one of the scenes from the later books where Pretender tries to convince Kale to side with him. His smooth talk and his good looks were deceiving, and it really hit home with me the lesson Paul was trying to show with his character.
Witch of the Waste, from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: Maybe it’s because she’s quite creepy in the movie adaptation or because I recently reread the book, but the Witch of the Waste has this air to her that just screams villain. In some ways, she reminds me of the White Witch, but she also stands as her own character, doing what she wishes to get what she desires.