With Halloween lurking around the next corner, I thought now would be a great time to list my top ten literary villains. Who doesn’t like a top ten list, am I right? As my readers well know, I love a good villain and not just any old antagonist will do. To make the top ten they have to be truly sinister. The kind who keep you up at night and make you wish for their demise. Generally, the more painful, the better. So, here goes my top 10 literary baddies in no particular order.
- Nils Bjurman – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – This guy was a piece of work, but boy did he get it in the end. He becomes the overseer of Lisbeth’s finances in the first book after her previous caregiver has a stroke. Unlike the sweet man who cared about her, Bjurman forces her to partake in sexual acts to get access to her money. Horrible, horrible man. Don’t worry, if there’s one girl you don’t want to mess with, it’s Lisbeth Salander.
- Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Abusive, sadistic, truly evil. I’d say that about covers it. Next time you have a nurse caring for you, just be glad it isn’t old Ratched.
- Mrs. Coulter from “His Dark Materials Trilogy” – She was beautiful, smart, and also the main little girl’s mother, but that didn’t stop her from destroying children by separating them from their souls or ‘daemons’.
- President Snow – “The Hunger Games” – This guy set up games where children kill other children to keep from having any sort of uprising. He lived like king while others starved. He wiped out an entire district and he did it all with a smile on his face and a white rose pinned to his lapel.
- Annie Wilkes – Misery – If you’re ever stranded on the side of the road and are found by your ‘number one fan’, might I suggest you stay on the side of the road? When the author in the story is taken in and nursed back to health by his fan, he has no idea how unstable she is, but he sure does find out. Let’s just say you will never look at a sledgehammer the same way again.
- Randall Flagg – “The Dark Tower” – Shows up in nine Stephen King novels including The Dark Tower series where I was first introduced to him and The Stand. You know you have an evil character when the King, no pun intended, himself uses the same character in that many horror novels.
- Mrs. Danvers – “Rebecca” – This is one creepy housekeeper. She manipulates a man’s new bride until she is a nervous wreck on the brink of killing herself. Why does this woman hate the new lady of the house so much? Because Mrs. Danvers is attached to the previous mistress and the house in a way that isn’t healthy. Don’t worry, this one is going down with the ship.
- Pennywise – “IT” – A being who was around before humankind who becomes what you truly fear. Oh, and did I mention he kills kids? If the pointy teeth, clown costume, and murderous nature aren’t enough to freak you out, wait until you hear the character brought to life by Tim Curry in the film. This character will haunt me FOREVER.
- Professor Umbridge – “Harry Potter Series” – Okay sure, Lord Voldemort is the big baddie from the Harry Potter series, but can you honestly say Umbridge didn’t upstage him just a little? She got under my skin in a way that made me grind my teeth. When she had Harry write that sentence over and over again as it simultaneously carved into the back of his hand, I saw red. Luckily, ol’ J.K. gave her a proper end. Good riddance lady we weren’t sad to see you go and that’s no lie.
- Jack Randall – “Outlander Series” – For those of you familiar with this series you know who I’m talking about and you probably just got fired up reading his name. Captain Jack Randall will stop at nothing to break our hero Jamie Fraser. And by nothing I mean, rape, murder, torture, you name it, it happens. This guy is one of the worst I’ve ever come across.
Didn’t see a villain on the list who tops yours? Please share your picks below in the comment section.