Definition of villain: a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.

“I read the story of Red Riding Hood today. I think the wolf was the most interesting character in it. Red Riding Hood was a stupid little thing so easily fooled.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon



Saruman, head of the wizard council and chief of that order, has seen the future and that future doesn’t look too good. Having lost all hope of being able to defeat Sauron, Saruman switches his allegiances to the Dark Lord. He serves the Dark Lord but secretly hopes to find the One Ring first and take Sauron’s place as ruler of Middle Earth.

“And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman the Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!”
“I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. ‘You have grown, Halfling,’ he said. ‘Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. you have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


Uncle Andrew Ketterley


Andrew Ketterley, or Uncle Andrew as he’s known by his nephew Digory, is a magician of sorts. As such, he thinks himself to be above the rules set in place for mere ordinary people. Armed with the little magic he’s managed to accumulate over the years, Uncle Andrew manages to trick his nephew into traveling to another world. Selfish and cowardly, Uncle Andrew continually puts himself and his interests above that of others, even his own family. I will say that he seemed to have a change of heart towards the end.

“No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“He thinks great folly, child,’ said Aslan. “This world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh, Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good!” ― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew


Lee Jae-Wook


Jae-Wook is a brilliant doctor. He’s also a vampire. Jae-Wook believes his condition is more of a blessing than a curse and this blessing is one he’d like to share with the world. He creates a new drug called VBT-01, a drug cultivated from the virus that turned him into a vampire. Jae-Wook doesn’t care how many people have to get hurt or how many people have to die for him to achieve his goals. He sees himself as a savior of sorts and he’ll do whatever he has to to save the world.

“I can create the equality. Why must people who deserve to live longer, die?” ~Lee Jae-Wook, Blood

“I have become the devil to change the world and not allow myself to change because of the world.” ~Lee Jae-Wook, Blood


Kylo Ren


Son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, Ben Solo has chosen to follow the dark side of the Force. Now known as Kylo Ren, Ben seeks to destroy what’s left of the Jedi order. He wants to finish what his grandfather, Darth Vader, couldn’t. He seems somewhat conflicted but his conflicted emotions don’t stop him from killing his own father.

 “Forgive me. I feel it again… the call from light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again the power of the darkness, and I’ll let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.[looks at Darth Vader’s helmet]” – Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren: “Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish like his father, so I destroyed him.”
Han Solo: “That’s what Snoke wants you to believe, but it’s not true. My son is alive.”


Do you have any favorite villains? What sort of villain are you writing?

About Britta Valentine

saved by grace, writer of young adult fiction, and drinker of copious amounts of coffee

14 comments on “Villains

  1. Great list! 🙂 For me, a villain can make or break a story as a weak villain doesn’t present the story’s hero with too great of a challenge, but a strong, compelling villain serves as a source of dramatic conflict and tension. My favorite villains (from books/comics) would be Lord Voldemort (the “Harry Potter” series); Pitch the Nightmare King (“The Guardians of Childhood” series); Negan (“The Walking Dead” comics); the Ten Men (“The Mysterious Benedict Society” trilogy); and Penguin (the Batman comics). If you’re interested, I did a post on my blog about my favorite baddies that you’re welcomed to check out: http://wp.me/p3XAIW-1c9

    • I totally agree. Your villain and your hero need to be a good match for each other. And those are some great villains that you listed! Thanks for the link. I’d love to check it out. 🙂

  2. I hadn’t heard of Jae-Wook, but the rest of the list was familiar as well as being among my own favorites.
    Adding to the list: Stephen King’s villains, especially the Crimson King and his minions (from The Dark Tower series).
    From television, John Bly (actor Billy Drago) from the old Brisco County, Jr. series always creeped me out! By the same token, that series had one of my all-time favorite, hysterically funny villains: Pete Hutter (magnificently played by John Pyper-Ferguson). Tears rolling, laugh till it hurts funny.
    For the most part, I think a villain crafted equal and opposite to the hero makes the most compelling story and sustains the suspense, holding the outcome of their conflict in question.
    I also enjoy complex villains who are heroes in their own world view, who actually sees the hero as the villain, at times making it challenging to tell which is truly the good and the bad.

    • Yes, to both of those points. I definitely think some of the scariest villains are the ones who view themselves as the hero! I’ll have to check out The Dark Tower series. A friend of mine recently recommended them as well.

  3. Kdrama’s!! Though I have only heard bad things about Blood. The villain from I Can Hear Your Voice is one of my favorites. A murderer who tries to force the hero to kill him in a psychotic attempt to justify his own murders.

    • Kdramas! 🙂 I keep explaining to people that they are NOT soap operas, lol.

      I actually really liked Blood. You should check it out and see what you think. 🙂

      Wow, I Can Hear Your Voice, sounds totally creepy, in a cool way!

      • lol – some of them it can get hard to tell. 😉 But they are so good!!
        I’ll have to check it out. Especially since I liked the lead in his other dramas. (woah – I just looked it up and just last month he married his love interest from Blood!)
        It’s such an amazing drama!! So creepy at times but not too much and so epically wonderful altogether.

        • Lol!
          I heard that too and thought it was neat. 🙂
          I’m watching Scholar Who Walks The Night right now and it’s really good. It also has a great soundtrack.

          • Haha – I read the recaps for that one, that was enough for me. I like Lee Joon-gi but… I rarely watch the historical dramas. Arang and the Magistrate was good. And Gu Family Book. And Queen In-Hyun’s Man. But the recaps weren’t enough to entice me to that one. 😉 (I generally prefer rom/coms with a touch of angst over the intense dramas – I Can Hear Your Voice was a nail-biter but it had plenty of swoony cuteness inbetween so my heart could calm down)

          • I haven’t seen any of those yet. Once my deadlines are past I’ll have to check them out.

          • Seems to me you are missing out on the better dramas! Definitely check them out when you can. (If you ever want any recommendations…!) Also you might want to add You From Another Star to your list. 😉

          • Sounds like a plan! My sister watched You From Another Star and said it was great too.

  4. Great post, villains need as much “screen time” as heroes. My favorite villains? Sauron in Akallabeth, Grimnir in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Lucius Malfoy (by the immortal Jason Isaacs), Penguin (Robin Taylor of GOTHAM), the animated Joker by the one and only Mark Hamill, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), Barlow the vampire as depicted in the original Salem’s Lot TV series, Herrick in the British Being Human, Saruman of course both as written by Tolkien and consummately brought to hideous life by the late, lamented Sir Christopher Lee.

    What kind of villains are you writing, you ask? A complex one. The titular character of my novel JEZEBELLE which releases Halloween of this year, The malign ghost of a voluptuous, ravishing raven-haired antebellum daughter of landed gentry in the Old South who now haunts a small southern town. Vain, selfish beyond imagination in life to the point of making a pact with the unholy to get the man she wants, she is now so much more so in death. The only thing left of her world is her precious porcelain doll, “My Rachel,” which safely resides in an antiquities museum — until a northeastern criminal mastermind steals it to become part of his collection. Jezebelle goes on a road trip to recover her Rachel and to punish all those responsible, wreaking havoc and destruction every step of the way, pursued by two FBI agents who are not clones of Scully and Mulder. One of them, a smoldering lady of color, indeed has a tie to Jezebelle in her family’s history, And as the bodies mount, how do you stop what is already…dead…?

    A beta reader told me that she felt sorry for Jezebelle, taken with her character and her tragic life and death, and her interactions with the living from time to time — feeling very sorry for her — until. Until this beast unblessed shows what she truly is. And that pleased me the most — I succeeded with a complex, multi-layered villain, one which both engrosses and then horrifies the reader. Those are the best. And I agree with you the villain who does not see himself or herself AS the villain, but “I’m only doing what is right,” are the worst. And the ones we love to hate the most.

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