Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The 5 Main Types of Villains

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.
I love a good villain. A lot of the time they're way more complex than our generic heroes, and when a villain is well written it's a beautiful thing. What's great about fictional nasties is that they come in all shapes and sizes, so I've tried to squash the different villain tropes into 5 main categories, with an example of my favourite villains that falls into that trope.

1. The Villains We Loathe to No End
Example: Umbridge (Harry Potter books)
This shouldn't come as a surprise but I strongly dislike Umbridge. Somehow an abusive teacher is way more repulsive than a dark lord who wants to take over the world. World domination is something I can sort of respect as a typical villainous intention - but subtle cruelty feels way worse. I love to hate these characters, and no matter how awful I find Umbridge, I do think she helped make the complexity of the politics of J.K. Rowling's world more real to me.

2. The Awful yet Interesting Villains
Example: Kavinsky (The Raven Cycle books)
Kavinsky is a villain I really wanted more of. Don't get me wrong, I hate him and the way he treats people like garbage, but I'm fascinated by his need to possess everything. There's something about the way Kavinsky is written that is so addictive to read about. He's a weird type of villain where he doesn't really seem to have a specific goal, but simply thrives on chaos which is super scary, but his powers make it really hard not to be intrigued by him.

3. The Comedic Villains
Examples: Piper and Colin Greenmantle (The Raven Cycle books); Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
I immensely enjoyed reading about these two and their constant bickering in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Their unconventional relationship made them feel like legitimately normal people, but the timing is just right so they can be very threatening when they want to be. Another example of the funny villain is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He does some awful things but his comedic timing is golden that it's hard not to want to see more of him.

4. The Villains That Are Almost Justifiably Bad (and we secretly root for)
Example: Victor (Vicious by V.E. Schwab); Regina (Once Upon a Time)
Victor is a textbook villain. And yet he's really not. He's fuelled by a need for revenge for something that happened years ago and is pretty sociopathic in his disregard for human life. But the guy he's after is way worse and so it's hard not to root for him as a protagonist. Also, he's good with kids (and I have respect for villains who are still good to kids). Another villain I think falls into this category is OUAT's Regina. She did some awful things in the past, but the way she interacts with her son is so precious that it's hard not to root for her.

5. The Villains that are Just Plain Crazy
Example: Eli (Vicious by V.E. Schwab)
A.K.A. the guy Victor is after. Freaking crazy but very good at hiding it. He's everything you think a hero should be which is why he fully believes that's what he is. But, boy, is he messed up. AND I LOVE THAT. I love villains with a cause, no matter how utterly insane.

So those were 5 types of villains. Did I miss out any major categories? Do you have any personal favourites that fall under these subheadings? Let me know! I definitely need more books with epic evildoers in my life.


  1. I like your take on this topic! Yes, there are some villains who are not that...well, vile.

    Here's my list: Vile Villains from Fairy Tales!

    1. Thank you! I think it's easier to relate to villains when they're not too vile - it helps us connect to the characters better :)

  2. Loved your topic! Number 1 is always infuriating but they are the ones who really move the story. I despise Umbridge to no end especially when the movie came out because the actress was just so close to whom I had imagined! Lol and comedic villains are weird for me. Like, they're evil but ridiculous that I couldn't help but consider them as jokes sometimes. Great topic! :D

    Puput @ Sparkling Letters

    1. Umbridge is awful - I don't think anyone can stand her. I praise the actress for being able to put across everything that the book did with her character.
      I love comedic villains - especially when they actually pose a threat. But yeah mostly when I think of witty/funny villains I think Team Rocket!
      Thanks :D

  3. Great take on the idea for this week! I enjoyed the descriptions. They are very accurate. I loved the picture too.

  4. I love Regina! Are you watching this season? It will be interesting to see where they go with this Evil Queen vs. Regina with the Wicked Witch of the West in the middle of it all thing.

    Here's my TTT: https://4thhouseontheleft.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/top-ten-tuesday-favorite-book-villains/

    1. I have a very complicated list of feelings about OUAT. I haven't watched the second half of season 5 and I doubt I'll ever continue watching. I thought the first 3 seasons were excellent but from there onwards I found that storylines were being repeated, plot was slowing and characters lacked continuity.
      I want the show to focus more on their core characters, because every time they add more we see no development from the original gang (i.e. there was no plot/character development in the Frozen storyline - if it were cut out the next half of the season would've flowed perfectly from where the previous one ended). With Wicked and Frozen and now Aladdin being added it all feels very promo.
      Sorry I kinda have a lot of feelings about OUAT especially when it comes to writing choices! But the first 3 seasons were basically flawless and if it ended there it'd probably be one of my favourite shows of all time.

  5. Nice TTT post! A complete change from everything else.

    How about Honorable Villains? (Piper and Greenmantle had me laughing my head off.)

    1. Ooh I totally forgot about Honorable Villains/Villains that stick to a code! My immediate thoughts go to Kaz and the Six of Crows gang.

  6. Great take on the topic!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/top-ten-tuesday-77/

  7. I love Victor, and definitely rooted for him! And Umbridge is the perfect example of villains I despise. She's the kind of person who doesn't care about those she deems less than her, or politics/ideals. Only power and subjecting other people to her. She made me so angry while reading!