If villains are written right, they are often more fascinating (at least to me) than the protagonist. Strangely enough, I find myself sympathizing with the villain in most stories. Usually, something horrible happens to the villain at the end and I feel somewhat disappointed. There’s nothing more irritating than a villain who is evil “just because.” So here are my top 7 favorite villains.
1. Leland Gaunt (from Needful Things by Stephen King) – Posing as a harmless old shopkeeper, Gaunt slowly reveals his dark side to the citizens of Castle Rock, Maine. He seduces the ladies, charms the children, and befriends the men, only to turn them all against each other, as a good villain should.
2. Jafar (from Disney’s Aladdin) – I had an odd obsession with Jafar when I was a little kid. I had a small action figure of him that I carried around all the time. I preferred Jafar to all other Disney characters. Why? I’m not sure. I was only four years old. Maybe I liked his hat. Or his cobra staff. Or his wisecracking parrot.
3. Judge Doom (from Who Framed Roger Rabbit) – Hands down, one of the creepiest “cartoon” villains out there. Doom’s cry of “Stop that laughing!” has never ceased to haunt me – the guy’s totally devoid of any sense of humor. No wonder he’s such a tool.
4. Aohila (from Knight of the Demon Queen by Barbara Hambly) – Aohila’s the typical “I’m-gonna-steal-your-man-with-my-magical-powers” female villain. She’s infuriatingly beautiful, seductive, and powerful. She’s queen of the demons, too, so she’s got minions.
5. Hannibal Lecter (from The Silence of the Lambs [and others] by Thomas Harris) – I don’t know if it’s the character himself or just Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal of him, but this guy freaks me out. He eats people, for heaven’s sake. But even though he’s a class-A creep, he’s still sympathetic. That’s the mark of a great villain.
6. Sideshow Bob (from The Simpsons) – He’s obsessed with killing Bart (my least favorite Simpsons character), so that makes him awesome in my book. And Kelsey Grammer’s voice is music to my ears.
7. Randall Flagg (from The Stand and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King) – Might as well end with a Stephen King character since I started with one. Flagg’s scary because he’s the mastermind behind the destruction of the world. And he goes by the moniker “Ageless Stranger.” Anyone with that title would be freaky.
So who are your favorite villains?