Loki (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
“I never wanted the throne, I only ever wanted to be your equal!”
Tom Hiddleston’s adaptation of Loki was widely enjoyed in the first Thor installment, but when he returned in Avengers Assemble it really changed the mark. He was loved and adored by fans everywhere and still is. This isn’t a villain who only wants to be King or rule for the sake of ruling, he found out the life he had always lived and the family he had known was a lie. Sure, we can’t excuse his actions, but at least we can understand them.
Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)
“I live for fur, I worship fur. After all, is there a woman in all this wretched world who doesn’t?”
Of all the villains in Disney, it is Cruella de Vil who is the most memorable, the most easy to hate, and ‘if she doesn’t scare you no evil thing will.’ A fashionista, she is on the watch for the newest trend-setter, no matter the consequences. She’s manipulative, wealthy and she’s not afraid to use her money to get what she wants. Her name, a pun for ‘cruel’ and ‘devil’ puts it in plain sight that she is the villain of ‘101 Dalmations’ and her character fully lives up to its title.
Klaus Mikaelson (The Vampire Diaries/ The Originals)
“Let me get you a drink. And I’ll tell you all about being the bad guy.”
Do you ever find that you’re actually rooting for the bad guy to succeed? That’s probably the reason we saw Klaus Michaelson get his own spin-off show from the Vampire Diaries where we could delve into all the problems that inhabits the Michaelson family in the Originals TV series. Dare I say it, but this strong character with his moral ambiguity makes the Originals a better TV show than the Vampire Diaries.
Jamie Moriarty (Elementary)
“You look at people and you see puzzles. I see games. You? You’re a game I’ll win every time.”
Sorry, seeing this picture has already spoiled the huge plot twist at the end of season one of Sherlock, but it’s been three years now so surely I’m allowed to talk about this guilt-free. Not only does she run a huge criminal underground, where everyone is afraid of her even though they don’t know who she is, there is so much more to Jamie. This is a woman who beat Sherlock Holmes. She didn’t just trick him, she analysed him, she worked out how he ticked and came to the conclusion he wasn’t a threat to her. And, he wasn’t. That’s how good Jamie Moriarty is.
Joffrey Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire)
“My father won all the battles. He killed Prince Rhaegar and took the crown, while your father was hiding under Casterly Rock. A strong king acts boldly, he doesn’t just talk.”
There are two ways to make a good villain. The most likely to succeed is to make them understandable and make your reader sympathetic. The other option is to make your reader hate them so much they’ll celebrate upon that villain’s death. That villain is Joffrey. A petulant whining child who you just love to hate.
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)
“As I told you Mr Potter, naughty children deserve to be punished.”
Umbridge was the complete opposite of the villain: a short woman, covered in pink who decorated her room with kittens. And people hated her more than Voldemort. Unlike Voldemort who flaunts his evil about, Dolores Umbridge coats her sadistic nature with ‘Sugar. Spice. And everything nice.’, enough to give you type II diabetes. She will enforce the rules, and make more rules to keep order and yet she is willing to break every rule there is, in order to get the information she wants – even if she has to use an unforgivable curse.
Doctor Doom (Marvel)
Even Stan Lee considers Doctor Doom to be his favourite Marvel villain and it’s not hard to see why. The current Secret Wars event has shown Doom as a villain to be reckoned with and created so many more dimensions to his character, he saved the world and in the process became God of a new world and he has no intention to give up that status.
Harley Quinn (DC)
Harleen Quinzel started life in the Batman Animated Series. A psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker, who spends all her time trying to please her ‘puddin’ (yes, that’s what she calls the Joker). While her being infatuated with the Joker might not be the best making of a villain, Harley is iconic. Harley was so well received that she was transferred to the comics and is a favourite character in the video game series. Even apart from the Joker, she has made a name for herself, first in Suicide Squad, and now officially as Poison Ivy’s girlfriend. She’s funny, she’s crazy and she’s so damn adorable.
Who are your favourite villains? Let us know in the comments below!
–Nadia and Elizabeth