Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Top Ten Villains/Criminals/and Other Nasties

This great meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is: Villains, criminals and other nasties. It's about characters who are bad, but we still love them or love to hate them.

In no particular order, here are my nasties:

1. Steerpike from the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake
He is very intelligent and ruthless. He would do anything to climb to the top position in Gormenghast and he is not above murder. He is a cruel, scheming man and has been described as a Machievellian schemer, which is completely true. I love his description in the books: “If ever he had harboured a conscience in his tough narrow breast he had by now dug out and flung away the awkward thing - flung it so far away that were he ever to need it again he could never find it. High-shouldered to a degree little short of malformation, slender and adroit of limb and frame, his eyes close-set and the colour of dried blood, he is climbing the spiral staircase of the soul of Gormenghast, bound for some pinnacle of the itching fancy - some wild, invulnerable eyrie best known to himself; where he can watch the world spread out below him, and shake exultantly his clotted wings.”

2. Frederick Clegg from The Collector by John Fowles
He’s a kidnapper, but that’s not all. He appears to be harmless, incredibly socially awkward and just wants some understanding. But don’t be fooled – he’s a creep. He is a collector by heart. He likes dead beautiful things and that’s the way his mind is twisted. He sees his victim Miranda as a butterfly, but she is alive and fights him, so he doesn’t like that very much. He is coldly rational and I don’t think he’s actually capable of normal emotions. In fact, to him everything is just there for him to observe and study. As I said, creep.

3. Iago from Othello by William Shakespeare
Othello was promoted instead of Iago and Iago resents the Moor so much he starts plotting against him. He pretends to be Othello’s friend, but he’s a traitorous, sinister man. He http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifis good at deception and he achieves his goal. He’s intelligent and evil and that’s always a bad combination.

4. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow from the DC Comics
">He channelled his frustrations into evil and for the thrill of it, he makes people go insane. He is an arrogant, evil bastard, again very intelligent and he uses his intelligence for bad things. Like gassing people with his fear toxin and, as mentioned, making them go insane with their own fears. His physical appearance is not impressive, but his actions certainly are.

5. The Joker from the DC Comics
He’s a true sociopath, with zero empathy and a whole lot of energy to wreak havoc. He’s always one step ahead of Gotham City and he kills because it amuses him. If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is. There’s no rhyme or reason to his world. And the worst part it, he’s pretty much sane, just so very evil. He parades around in his purple suit and clown make-up, making you hate clowns for good.

6. Marquise de Merteuil from Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
She is seductive and intelligent, witty and cruel. She wants to take revenge, so she schemes against several people and destroys lives just because she got jilted by a lover. She is a truly decadent French aristocrat who likes to play games with people because it’s fun. People with time on their hands and a corrupted soul tend to do that.

7. Alec d’Urberville from Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.
Actually, all men in this novel are bastards, but Alec stands out of the bunch (although I could actually forgive him more easily than the supposedly good Angel). He ruins the heroine Tess, but doesn’t think he did anything wrong. The fool likes her, but being the pampered rich boy who has been able to do anything, no is not an answer to him, so he just takes things, and people. He shows remorshttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife at one point, but doesn’t last long and goes about harassing Tess, manipulating with her mind, shoving in her face the fact that he “had” her, so she belongs with him.

8. Count Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker.
He wants blood: plain and simple. On his way from Transylvania to England, he kills a whole ship of sailors. In England, he has fun draining innocent girls, turning them into vampires, making people go insane, killing them. He does a good job at being a vampire, alright.

9. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
I like the novel, but I don’t like its characters, especially Heathcliff, whom I really can call a degenerate. I have never been able to comprehend why some women have a fictional crush on him, although I respect everyone’s likes and dislikes. I love to hate him, though.:) Truth be told, he’s a great character. He fascinates me. He is consumed by his passions, especially the passionate hatred he feels for everyone who antagonized him in any way. His revenge is cruel. He is abusive, has a dark soul and I don’t see any redeeming features in him. He is both hero and villain. He is complex that way, but in the end, he is quite malevolent.

10. Carmilla from Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu
She’s a sort of female version of Count Dracula. She likes blood and is after it. She concocts quite a scheme to be close to her victim, a girl she is attracted to and from whom she wants to drink blood and have her for herself. She’s a great female vampire. (no picture, alas)


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I find the Scarecrow terrifying although that's because of the film since I've never read any of the comics.

I'm really glad you included Heathcliff because he's despicable. Admittedly I hated WH but he's so awful and there's really nothing redeeming about someone who delights in torturing everyone around him.

Blodeuedd said...

Great villains, all such bastards

Jen said...

I loved your list! Some of the characters I was familiar with, some I plan to read. Thanks for posting them!

Bibliophile said...

Waaahahahaaaa! Why didn't I think of Steerpike? He is such a great choice and so well written.

I had Iago, the Marquise de Merteuil and Count Dracula on my list as well, and considered Heathcliff and Carmilla as well.

danya said...

I really disliked Heathcliff too and like you said, don't get the fictional crush thing.

Kayla + Cyna said...

Yeah, the Joker :D I admit, I never really found him scary until the Dark Knight and Under the Red Hood (probably 'cause my exposure was mostly through the cartoons, and he's not allowed to be too dark there...), but he's always been a favorite. I've also never read Dangerous Liaisons, but yeah, saw the movie, and she was one cold bitch :(

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Yes, that awful woman from Dangerous Liaisons. Terrible person.

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Enbrethiliel said...


Oooooh, Alec!!! I can't believe I've forgotten about him!

You're right that he is absolutely odious. He should have left Tess alone, if not the first time, then at least the second time.

What's interesting, as you point out, is that all the men in the novel are pretty bad--including Angel, who is meant to be Alec's foil in all things. (A professor pointed out that there is very pointed "demon" imagery in the characterisation of Alec. Tess is like the soul they're fighting over--but both of them are equally bad options, aren't they?)

Anonymous said...

great list. and I completely agree with you about Heathcliff.


Jan von Harz said...

Great list of reprobates. I was surprised to see Heathcliff, but I loved your reasoning. I am also glad you included a female.