I’ve been really excited about this particular topic as I love finding interesting villains who are brilliant characters. There’s nothing better than reading a book and finding the villain to be just as interesting (if not more) than the protagonist and the heroes of the story. Normally, my first choice would be Bellatrix (I could write a whole post on her alone) but I’m going to be avoiding Harry Potter characters for this week as I want to mention some who maybe aren’t as obvious.
Luke Castellan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
I have always adored Luke as a character in these books as he is such a three dimensional villain and isn’t the most terrifying antagonist of the series. Although he is the main antagonist, Luke has many above him, such as the titan, Kronos, who are controlling and manipulating him. We learn lots of his backstory as well as his current struggles throughout the five books and his relationships with the main characters are really interesting. He does slightly follow the ‘misunderstood villian’ trope but I also think there are a few differences with the way Riordan portrays him.
President Alma Coin – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I was going to put President Snow here because he is a brilliant villain but I’m trying to add less obvious characters to these lists! When reading Mockingjay, I could never put my finger on why I didn’t trust Coin and felt validated by the end when she became power hungry and as bad as Snow in many ways. Coin would have been another dictator and would have treated her people unfairly and unequal. When Katniss (spoiler alert) assassinates Coin, it is such a shock to the system but also had to be done. Katniss knew she couldn’t be trusted to improve the quality of life for all.
Tom Watson – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Tom is slightly different from the previous couple on this list but he’s a villain nonetheless. Tom is so manipulative and awful and treats the protagonist, Rachel, horribly. You don’t realise the extent of his abuse until later on in the novel but it’s a clever revelation and also makes you hate him a ridiculous amount. He is pure evil and does not seem to care at all who he hurts or how he does it. In fact, he seems to enjoy it. He deserves everything he gets in my opinion and I really cannot stand him!
Kevin Khatchadourian – We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Easily the most terrifying villain in my opinion. ‘Villain’ sounds too fantasy like for Kevin but he is truly the fictional character that scares me more than any other. I find that the way Shriver writes the character of Kevin is so realistic and scary that it’s hard to believe he isn’t real. I think what helps is the fact the book is written about him but from the point of view of his mother. We follow her letters about Kevin from birth to adulthood which gives an opportunity to show the development of his personality and emotions (or lack of) in detail, something which isn’t often seen.
Jack Merridew – Lord of the Flies by William Golding
It’s up for debate whether you can really call Jack a villain considering the ending and the whole moral of the story. However, the way in which he turns power mad and turns everybody against Ralph is villainous. He creates his own group to lead and forces the boys to choose between him or Ralph. Two boys end up dead because of Jack and his group’s savage ways of trying to survive. He is not necessarily like other stereotypical villains who want to take over the world and has malicious intentions since birth, but a bad situation brought out the worst in him and he will have things his way or no way.