I knew a woman so taken with Madame Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities that she had the character’s likeness embroidered on her own knitting bag.
The best villains are often the most memorable parts of the books I love.
They are the ones who make the stories interesting, and the ones that we want to see get their comeuppance. Most tales wouldn’t be nearly as dramatic without a heavy to provide or enhance the conflict.
Can you picture The Lord of The Rings without Sauron? Well, maybe you can, he’s mentioned a lot more often than he is interacted with.
Or 1984 without Big Brother?
Bambi (yes, there is a book) without the hunters, referred to as “He?”
Things would have gone easier in Othello if Iago hadn’t gotten so fussy and paranoid, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, while I’m sure it would still be taught in film school, probably wouldn’t be parodied as endlessly if HAL hadn’t gone nuts.
What if Clarice Starling hadn’t been able to consult Hannibal Lecter while chasing down psychos?
President Snow in The Hunger Games. (I think Vincent Cassel should play him in the movie)
General Woundwort from Watership Down
Cathy from Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Lots of critics fuss about her not being a very realistic character, but I still shiver to think about the things she did to everyone.
The Judge from Blood Meridian. (And basically everyone else in the book)
Instead of running mad with the lethal air doo-dad, what if Anton Chigurh had decided to sit on the sidelines during No Country For Old Men?
I need to stop before my fingers catch on fire. There is certainly no shortage of great, nasty characters out there.
Please fill in the blanks. Let’s stick to books today. I’ll get a movie version of this post up soon.
Psst. This blog’s RSS Feed may (or may not) help with receding hairlines.
And the book club may (or may not) help if that doesn’t work.