Top Ten Picks is hosted by Jillian at Random Ramblings. This week, the topic is "Best Villains". (Yeah, I know I should've done this last Tuesday. I'm late. My bad.)
So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Picks for Best Villains:
10. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
This character made me grind my teeth and want to throw the book across the room. I don't know if I've every read about a character that was so infuriating. She's definitely not the most evil character out there, but she elicited so much frustration from me that the author must've done something right.
9. Lysistratus from Yarrow by Charles de Lint
It's been a while since I read this book, so I can't remember exactly what this character did that was so bad. I do remember that he was a deliciously nasty villain, though, so I'm including him on the list.
8. The Huntress from The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
It could probably be argued that the Crooked Man was the real villain of this book, but the events that happened in the huntress's cottage stayed with me (and haunted me) far more. She was the stuff of nightmares, and I'll probably never be able to look at centaurs again without being reminded of that passage. *shudder*
7. Laurel from Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
There's nothing worse than a villain who does their best to keep two people who love each other apart. From a literary standpoint, though, there's probably nothing better, either. I love complications.
6. The Frenchman from The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King
This guy was just foul. Cruel, heartless, and (evidently) unable to learn from his past mistakes. What a dickhead. It's so delicious when characters like this get what's coming to them.
5. El Patron from The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Although it could be argued that El Patron was simply acting out of self-preservation, he had a disregard for the value of the lives of others that was indeed chilling.
4. Electronic Metals from The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
This is a corporation, rather than a person. But who says corporations can't be evil? I can't say much more without giving away the ending... but suffice it to say that, if this company were real, I would be boycotting it.
3. Baba Yaga from Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
When we first meet her, she's extracting the eyeballs of a still-living victim simply because she liked their colour. You can't get much more evil than that.
2. The Nothing from The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
This is probably a more abstract villain, but it's still a formidable one... especially to anyone who values stories and dreams.
1. The Other Mother from Coraline by Neil Gaiman
When I heard they were making a movie of this book, I knew they'd need to get this character right for it to work. To my surprise, she was done pretty well. The book version still seems way more creepy to me... but I guess giving little kids nightmares would not be a good way to increase movie ticket sales.