Due to the positive response to my strong women post (We Can Do It!) I've decided to do another list (and will probably turn this into a regular thing). This one is gonna be a fun one and something not always talked about: our favorite villains. Admit it, you love the bad guy. It takes a truly intriguing character to make you hate them.
So below, in no particular order, I have a list of my top 10 favorite villains that we love to hate. (Minor spoilers! Beware!)
1. Lord Voldemort from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
-Lord Voldemort (also known as Tom Marvolo Riddle) is one of the finest villains in literature today. He has a tortured past, including his family's past before he was even born. It's like he was doomed to turn into a monster. Before he turned into the terrifying, snakelike creature that he is, he was a charming and charismatic student. He was fearless and didn't let anyone get in the way. Except one person, Albus Dumbledore. That is one reason alone to love this villain, even he is smart enough to know that Dumbledore could kick his butt. I loved learning his back story in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You almost feel sorry for him, but then he does something horrible and you forget that (but secretly think how awesome of a wizard he is). I also am intrigued by the fact that he created his arch nemesis. He (unwittingly) chose Harry as the Chosen One, when he could've chosen Neville (and the series would be one novel. Sorry Neville!). Even his subconscious was like "Pick someone awesome, this will be epic." So even if you don't love to hate Voldemort, you can't deny that he is a great villain and, despite efforts, people cannot recreate a villain like him.
2. The Lannisters from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
-Oh the Lannisters. You vile, creepy family with your blonde hair that can't be beat. Especially Joffrey, the little *insert favorite expletive here*. So this family is horrid, they partake in incest, murder, theft...you know, the usual. But they are so fascinating!! The most "normal" of the bunch is Tyrion, a dwarf with a penchant for whores. So clearly you can see how crazy this family is if he's the normal one. They scheme against other lords and ladies, they scheme against each other, they even push small 7 year old boys out of windows. They are not afraid to do ANYTHING. Even though you hate them and yell at them with every page turn, you can't help but want to see what happens next! "When will Cersei's lies about her children be revealed? Will she get what's coming to her?" is all I could think when I first started the series. These people somehow manage to weasel their way into situations and out of any bad one. They are seriously intriguing and I'm so glad I don't have to go up against them in real life, I'll leave that to the Starks and Dany.
3. Gollum (Smeagol) from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
-Gollum (formerly known as Smeagol) wasn't always a bad guy. He was just a Hobbit, hanging out, when he just happened to spy a shiny thing in the river and picked it up. Biggest mistake ever (remind me not to ever do that again). He found the One Ring and was instantly obsessed with and possessed by it. When he loses it and Bilbo Baggins finds it, his life gets even worse. Worse than this you say? How? Well...his looks don't get worse, but his attitude sure does. He resorts to trickery and deception to get his Precious back, but you can't help but feel sorry for him. He's like that little kid that wanted the cherry good smelly marker in school, but never got it. You hate what he does when he messes with Sam and Frodo (I mean, he bit his finger off), but you feel bad that he's that desperate and just want him to feel better. Just remember everyone, avoid shiny objects in the river.
4. Marisa Coulter from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
-Marisa Coulter is a fashionable lady that seems to have it all. You meet her and you're jealous of Lyra, "What do you mean she gets all this cool stuff and gets to live in an awesome house?!" But then you meet Marisa's daemon's terrifying dark side. That's when you're like "Okay, I'm out." But you can't help but want to know more about this lady! She's Lyra's mom! Why did she leave her? Why is she after her? What will she do if she keeps her? What's her motivation? So many things! You want her to have the daughter that she lost, but since she's kind of a crazy bitch, you don't. She's one of those characters you want to get behind, but never can, because she really doesn't deserve your backing. Even though you wish she did.
5. Dolores Umbridge from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
-Man J.K. Rowling, do you know how to create awesome villains. Umbridge is a horrid woman. But you can't stop reading all the awful things that she does! And it's so much fun to see her get her just desserts. We never find out why she is so horrid, but I know I'm not the only one that wishes we had her back story! We also love her little nuances: her kitten plates, her picture of the Minister of Magic on her desk and her creepy little girl voice. She's a villain that will stick with you and will never cease to make you hate her and amuse you at the same time.
6. President Snow from Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games trilogy.
-President Snow is one shady mother effer. He plays all sweet and nice, but his breath reeks of roses and blood. Um...what? He's got it out for Katniss and will do whatever it takes to defeat her. You really are an evil villain if you go after a 16 year old girl. But you like him because he makes Katniss think. He makes Katniss work. She's at some of her strongest points when she's opposing him. And then there's Coin, who makes Snow look like a nice, friendly grandfather figure. I'm sorry I only got to see Snow's villainy in 3 books, but that does not make him any less terrifying.
7. Blair Waldorf from Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series.
-Blair Waldorf is your typical mean girl, on steroids. She does horrible, awful things, but you can't help but love her. She's a broken girl that has suffered a lot, despite the luxury she lives in. She's constantly trying to make her life better by bringing other people down, but does it ever make her feel better? No. I'd be terrified going to school with this girl. I can't decide if it would be better to be her friend or not. I feel like you'd be attacked either way. Throughout the series you either want to see her happy or you want to see what awful thing she's going to do next and the fallout from it. She's my favorite character from my favorite guilty pleasure series.
8. Malcolm and Olivia Foxworth from V.C. Andrew's Dollanganger series.
-Olivia Foxworth is a scary, evil lady from the beginning of the series and you don't really understand why she does the horrible things she does to her family. But once you read Garden of Shadows her insanity is explained and even justifiable. Malcolm, her husband, is the reason for her tragic life. She was looking forward to a happy marriage with a wonderful man. What she winds up with is a life of abuse, incest and control. She lives in a house of nightmares and doesn't make it out unscathed. In turn she winds up torturing her family as well. She's unhinged and wants to hide the madness that's in her house. You hate her, but feel bad for what made her this way. And Malcolm? Well that dude's just nuts with some major mommy issues.
9. Adair from Alma Katsu's The Taker series.
-Adair seems like a handsome, wealthy and cultured man. But actually, he's crazy. He's power hungry and controlling. He's also a liar. He starts out as a boy, curious about magic, but it turns into an obsession that controls his life for thousands of years. In his madness he murders, trades bodies, creates immortal beings and gets trapped behind a brick wall for 200 years. Seeing how he treats people is horrific and you just want to save his companions. But you slowly learn more about him and where he's really from and suddenly it all clicks. He's masking his pain behind a facade of power. You want to like him because you know there's a soul in there, but it's buried deep. Definitely one of the more intriguing villains in novels today.
10. Spike from Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
-Spike is a vampire with a heartbreaking past. He does things that would make you cringe (he got his name for torturing people with railroad spikes...), but he's just so damn cool. Even though he's evil and you want Buffy to kick his butt, you kinda want him to live so you can see what he does next. He turns into kind of a sap for a bit towards the end of the series, but when he shows up on Angel, he's back to his badass ways. I think he's at his best villain-ness when he's with Drusilla. They just complement each others crazy so well. He's a terrifying vampire, but with a funny and sarcastic side. You just kinda wanna be his friend, except for when he's hungry.
Anyone else you'd add to our favorite villains we love to hate?