Top Villains



All About The Villains –top ten favorite/most compelling villains in books, top ten of the most vile villains/bad guys in books, top ten villains I secretly (or not so secretly) love, favorite tv villains, favorite comic book villains, ten “villains” of contemporary lit.

Coincidentally, on the book photo challenge I host on Litsy, one of the prompts last week was ‘fave villains’. And these were my choices


Professor Moriarty (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them.

It’s fascinating that a character who has direct roles in only two of the Sherlock Holmes stories can capture the imagination so.

Tom Ripley (Patricia Highsmith)

‘Villain’ may not be the right word for Ripley, but he is a killer and a con artist, though very charming.

Count Olaf (Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler)

The kind of villain you just love to hate! I mostly can’t stand Jim Carey but I have to admit he played Count Olaf perfectly.

Lady Macbeth (William Shakespeare) 

“Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: ’tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil,”

The White Witch (CS Lewis)

Her face was white – not merely pale, but white like snow or paper or icing sugar, except for her very red mouth. It was a beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold and stern


The shadow in The Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin)

I first read The Wizard of Earthsea as a young teenager (I may have been 13? 14?) and I still remember being stunned by the dread I felt for this shadow creature, the unknown, the unnamed.


Saruman (J.R.R. Tolkien)

One of the best examples of how power can corrupt. And also played so brilliantly by Christopher Lee.


Agatha Trunchbull (Roald Dahl)

“I have never been able to understand why small children are so disgusting. They are the bane of my life. They are like insects. They should be got rid of as early as possible. We get rid of flies with fly-spray and by hanging up fly-paper. I have often thought of inventing a spray for getting rid of small children. How splendid it would be to walk into this classroom with a gigantic spray-gun in my hands and start pumping it.”

And you know, that chocolate cake scene.

Who are your favourite villains?


  1. Oh good picks – Ged’s shadow still gives me goosebumps (especially with knowing what it all means). I have a big and inappropriate soft spot for Tom Ripley, but he somehow didn’t occur to me – I stuck strictly to things I’ve read, and I’ve only ever seen the movies of Patricia Highsmith’s novels (I should probably fix that). I gave the White Witch a spot too 🙂


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