Sometimes, the villain of a story is the character that fascinates me the most. In most children stories, the villain tends to be written as merely evil without a backstory. It makes the villain the embodiment of evil and since thee is no explanation for their character, they are easy to hate. But some stories are not afraid of giving the villain a little more character and to show different sides of them. Other stories focus entirely on the villains' backstories. In this post, I would like to share my favourite villains with you all. I do not mean that they are good characters in terms of their actions, but rather that they are well written characters that are interesting to read about or to watch on screen.
The Queen of Hearts
Alice in Wonderland does not show much empathy for the Red Queen, but Meyer's Heartless* does. I wrote about the book before and you can find a full review of it here. The short version is that it tells the backstory of the Red Queen. Throughout the book, her behaviour later on becomes understandable - not excusable, but understandable. Although this is obviously fiction added to the story by another author, it has made me like Alice in Wonderland more as it gives the story more nuance and makes it more realistic (well, as realistic as a story about Wonderland can be...).
The Evil Step Sister
Cinderella's evil step sisters always seemed to be pretty much nothing but spoiled brats. But how did they become like that? And is redemption in the cards for them? Donnelly's Step Sister* follows the story of the younger evil step sister after Cinderella rode off with the prince and her glass slipper. The book is beautifully written as it is written like a fairytale, but instead of a hero, it talks about a bully. I read this book super quickly because it is just so well written that you just want to keep reading and I can highly recommend it!
The TV Show Killing Eve* is really killing it with their writing of the show's villain Villanelle. Villanelle is a psychopathic assassin who sometimes gets close to redemption when she seems to look out for the agent hunting her, but other times, the viewer is reminded that she is nonetheless a cold-blooded killer who is willing to pull a trigger whenever necessary. There are continuously hints at how Villanelle became who she is and especially in the last season, Villanelle's character traits become more traceable. Villanelle is honestly the most fascinating villain I have ever seen on screen - she is just so funny but also brilliant and also cruel whenever she deems necessary.
I know that most people will probably have watched both new Maleficent* movies, but I just had to include this here because these movies are what first made me realise what my childhood-fairytale villains were lacking: nuance. I remember watching Disney's old animated version of Sleeping Beauty and just immediately hating Maleficent who ruins the child's christening and scares the hell out of everybody there. But when you see the abuse that Maleficent endured and how she was hurt, it is hard to imagine how she should have turned out differently all alone in the woods. Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Maleficent is brilliant and the movies are an amazing little escape from reality!
Game of Thrones
Disregard the final season - I think it is pretty much known by everyone now that the final season was a disaster. But the previous seasons of Game of Thrones* were amazing. What I love about this show is that it allows its characters to have flaws - even the heroes make mistakes and they can become cruel and make the wrong choices. But the villains can also have good qualities. My favourite example of this is Cersei - a Queen and later mother of the King who is downright cruel, but who usually acts on a noble motive: Keeping her children safe.
These are my favourite villains. Do you guys have a book or movie that adds some more nuance to the villain? I would love to know about it - I am always really happy to receive book/movie recommendations. You can send me a message here.
Lots of Love,
*Links marked with * are affiliate links. If you use these links to buy a product, I get a small commission. The product’s price does not increase for you. It is of course your choice where you buy your products, but it would mean a lot to me if you would support my blog by using my affiliate links.