Posted by: Jeanie F | August 6, 2010

Literary Villain Hall of Fame

My recent reading of Paris Trout has gotten me thinking – who are the baddest bad guys around? The ones who would make the “Literary Villain Hall of Fame”?  Trout is right up there, but who else have you found to have the least redeemable qualities in literature? Not the easy ones, like Satan and Count Dracula – their place is pretty secure.

A few who come to mind for me:

Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy)

Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens)

Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris)

Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier)

Popeye (Sanctuary by William Faulkner)

Rhoda Penmark (The Bad Seed by William March)

Quint and Miss Jessel (Turn of the Screw by Henry James)

Alexander Zalachenko (Girl Who Played with Fire/Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larssen)


Responses

  1. Nice post. I’d like to put more name there, Silas from The Da Vinci Code … he is the reason I like Da Vinci Code.

    I agree on Hannibal. great villain indeed.

    I’m not sure if you ever read Manga, but Kira from Deathnote is another smart villain

    • Novroz, haven’t read Manga – I’ll have to look for that one!

  2. Oooh, good question. I just finished The Woman in White and think Count Fosco deserves a place on your list!

  3. Woman in White is one of my all time favorite mysteries. I can’t believe I forgot Count Fosco! Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Just a couple of logs for the fire:

    Uncle Tom from UNCLE TOM’S CABIN

    Sauron from LORD OF THE RINGS

    IAGO from OTHELLO

    The White Witch from THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

    Roger Chillingworth from THE SCARLET LETTER

    Huck’s father from HUCKLEBERRY FINN

    Wickham from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

    Javert from LES MISERABLES

    Alright, better stop here….

    • Skip, I forgot Javert – and have to agree that Iago is one of the all time worst! I think the villain in Uncle Tom’s Cabin was Simon Legree, wasn’t it? He was terrible. Thanks for the reminders!


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