5 Bookish Bad Guys I Love to Hate3:11 PM
Just realized that 50 people follow this blog. Which, to me, is an insane amount. So, all you people are awesome. Just saying.
Staying in line with our theme this month, all about characters, I'm going to present you with some of my very favorite antagonists and/or villains from the (mostly YA) book world. There are lots of fictional Dark Lord baddies, of course, but the ones I'm going to show you today have motive, personality, cleverness, and perhaps the added bonus of being funny, because who doesn't like a witty villain?
The Lunar Chronicles
Levana is a perfect example of my favorite kind of villain. She's absolutely wicked. She tries to kill children out of jealousy and uses her powers to emotionally and physically manipulate or abuse people when she finds it necessary. Granted, she's partly insane, but her choices are totally and completely her own, driven by a need for power. She has a tragic, rough backstory (as seen in Fairest) but it doesn't try to make you feel sorry for her or excuse her actions -- rather, it makes you more disgusted with her, although now you understand her actions.
She's nasty through-and-through, but also clever and intriguing.
Who doesn't love a good villain? Like Levana, Steelheart -- as the book is named after -- falls right into the villain category. Supervillain, in fact. He's straight-up bad. Heck, the prologue introduces him as someone who walks in, pretends to save people from another baddie, and then turns everyone to steel and destroys them. Not the greatest guy. He's here because I love a good supervillain, and this is a classic example. Steelheart has no empathy -- he's out there for the power, for the destruction, all that good stuff. He doesn't have a personal grudge against our hero; he'll kill anyone and everyone who gets in the way.
His powers and, consequently, his weakness, fuel the plot. How do you kill an invincible supervillain? How do you find his weakness? I won't spoil it for you, even though it's an important part of Steelheart's character development and I like the way it was done a lot. Steelheart does have weaknesses, and they tie in with his powers rather nicely. Despite being basically Superman turned evil with a dash of Magneto thrown in, he's just as human as everyone else.
And since we're talking about supervillains...
|I am using this because Michael Fassbender is a lovely Magneto and|
I do what I want.
Magneto is my favorite antagonist ever. And yes, he's more antagonist than villain. He doesn't balk at killing our X-Men heroes, but he feels a sense of regret when he has to. He does what he does because he wants to protect his species, and he'll do anything to achieve that goal, including steamroll everything in his path. He has class. He helps the X-Men when they're working toward the same goal, rather than always opposing them no matter what. He does have some vague sense of morals, and he's been known to help his friends. In the comics he's usually with the X-Men, aiding them in whatever they happen to be doing.
Also, I think we can agree that he has both the coolest and the most useful superpower of all time ever. 'Nuff said.
We'll call Starkey an antagonist even though I'm pretty sure he almost falls into the category of being a villain. Suffice it to say, this kid is severely disturbed. (I'd go so far as to call him a legitimate psychopath, actually.) He has no regard for human life, even with those close to him, and he's willing to go as far as to severely injure himself in order to achieve his goals and get to others. He's egotistical, hell-bent on revenge, and will and does constantly put the people around in him in life-threatening situations to aid himself. He's also charming and manipulative without restraint.
There's a certain charm to Starkey. A certain energy. People are attracted to his fanatic quest for his own warped sense of justice, and he knows just what to say to them to seal the deal. A childhood of feeling abandoned and unwanted in a foster family, his goal warps into wanting to kill everyone responsible for cases like his and liberate those kids. When our protagonists try to intervene, he develops a deep hatred against them, too. Needless to say, he goes a little off the deep end.
Opal, too, is most definitely a villain. This woman is crazy. She's also a brilliant scientist with a ton of cool tech at her disposal, not to mention devoted minions. So, cool-but-creepy. She eradicates everyone in her way without caring, and is obsessed with her own status, appearance, and being treated practically like a goddess.
As fun as she is, she would not actually make a very good world leader.
'..."Peace be inside me, tolerance all around me, forgiveness in my path. Now, Mervall, show me where the filthy human is, so that I may feed him his insides."'
- Smaug - The Hobbit
- Cassius au Bellona - Red Rising and Golden Son
- Drake - Gone (as much as I dislike those books, he's an admirable villain.)
- The Commandant - An Ember In the Ashes
- Ultron - Marvel universe (hey, comics count as books!)
Who are some of your favorite fictional villains and antagonists? What kind of villain do you like best? Comment away.