Favorite Kidlit Villains

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Favorite Kidlit Villains

snidleyThere are many great villains out there, from the moustache-twirling doofuses, to the sick and twisted sociopaths, to the evil wizards bent on world domination or the misunderstood loners who think their heinous acts are actually doing good.

Kids books have seen the arrival of some truly memorable villains in the past few years, so I thought I’d take the pulse of you readers and writers to see which ones rank as your favorites. Are you more a fan of the classic, 100% evil villain? Do you like your bad guys to have a troubled past and some sympathetic reason for going afoul? Are you into the darkly charming bad guys/girls who you either love to hate or hate to love?

In either the comments below or using the hashtag #kidlitbadguys on Twitter, cast a vote for your favorite villain from children’s literature. The winners (or losers?) will be revealed on Monday. Please note: I’ll only be counting the first villain you list, so if you want to name a bunch of favorites, make sure to put your number one choice first!

snidley
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Richman and Upstart Crow, Upstart Crow. Upstart Crow said: New blog post: Favorite Kidlit Villains (http://upstartcrowliterary.com/blog/?p=949) http://upstartcrowliterary.com/blog/?p=949 […]

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  2. I’ve always loved/hated Roald Dahl’s Mr Twit! (strangely, I can forgive Mrs Twit her foulness)

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  3. Great topic! I think Bellatrix Lestrange is a fabulous character and villain – twisted, wicked and downright hedonistic in her villainous deeds. While reading the Harry Potter books, I often wondered about her life and backstory.

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  4. Dolores Umbridge.

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  5. I love Opal from the Artemis Fowl series.

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  6. Ooo, ekokie picked a good one with Bellatrix, but I’m still going to vote for Astaroth from Henry H. Neff’s Second Seige. Charming and oh, so tricky- he seems impossible to beat. All four of my family members are desperate for the next book in the series.

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  7. The White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia is a complex and interesting villain. Over the series many characters are seduced by her and can’t tell if she’s good or evil, but the reader knows the truth.

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  8. Cold, cold, cold Mrs. Coulter. And that g.d. evil gibbon daemon of hers. (Or is it an orangutan? Too lazy to google and see.) Scared the crap out of me each of the four or five times I read The Golden Compass.

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  9. The Trunchbull, of course!

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  10. The fish from Cat In The Hat.

    I mean, jeez, they’re just trying to have some fun. But that go**amned fish is always nagging, whining, threatening. **** you, fish! Yeah, you heard me. You can **** my ***** with your joy-killing negativity. I will filet your **** if you don’t shut the **** up. I will batter and deep-fry you, ************! I will go sushi on your **** and you will be so deep in wasabi you won’t know what ******* hit you.

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  11. Can I have another? Well…I’m voting for another, so hope I can…

    I also find Brother Leon from Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War to be a special kind of villain. His villainy is less obvious in his world, and in fact seems all the more evil because it is well-disguised in his world. But he sets in motion and serves as an accomplice and instigator to the awfulness that befalls Jerry. He’s also an incredibly interesting villain in that he at times seems weak and pitiful, but his evil acts feel more frightening than the monsterous villains because he is all too human and real.

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  12. . . . nothing like melted butter . . . must go with the Grinch.

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  13. Oh, Olaf from The Series of Unfortunate Events, definitely! The goofy disguises kept me reading all 13 books.

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  14. There are so many to choose from! but here’s my list:
    Howl’s Moving Castle: The Witch of the Waste, The Lightning Thief & Sea of Monsters: Luke, A Northern Light: Grace Brown’s Fiance, Nancy Drew: Deirdre Shannon (and, kinda, Nancy’s dad because he’s super creepy), Alice in Wonderland: The Queen of Hearts… Oh and the Darklings in the Midnighters series!

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  15. I agree with Michael. Mrs. Coulter does something so unspeakable to children and believes she is righteous in doing so. She is ruthless despite being beautiful and charming, and that makes her even more scary.

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  16. Harmony Fist;

    At once both luscious and deplorable, she defines contradiction.

    munk

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  17. I like my Bad Guys w/ good qualities, especially if helping the Good Guy causes them angst. My vote’s for Severus Snape. Though he may not be a villain, he’s definitely antagonistic toward Harry (at least in Harry’s eyes).

    For silly villains, I love the morons in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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  18. I would have to agree with Michael too. Mrs. Coulter and her freaky little monkey are the worst. So creepy, and clearly her soul–the monkey–is pure evil.

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  19. I believe Lucius Malfoy, a man who uses his considerable wealth and influence to keep his family elevated in society while seeking to reduce or destroy the social/economic mobility of those who are outisde his circle, stands out as a chillingly realistic villain. I’ve met people like him before.

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  20. Mr. Hastings from “Over Sea, Under Stone”. Tall, dark, and willing to break a child’s arm for treasure.

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  21. Also, Mrs. Coulter was portrayed by Nicole Kidman, and if she isn’t Evil Incarnate, I don’t know what is.

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  22. The troll queen from East.

    I like my villains to have more than one dimension, so I need to be able to sympathize with them somehow. I also like Flauvic from Crown Duel, the wizards from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and the fairy queen from Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series.

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  23. First choice Mrs. Coulter, but I don’t want Michael to go getting a big head over his being right again.

    But the villain in the Bartimaeus trilogy, who shall remain nameless so as not to ruin things for those who haven’t read it/really lived, is totally, totally great.

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  24. Oh, I may just have to revote. I forgot (don’t know how) about Mrs. Coulter and that freaky monkey. I hated her so much I couldn’t finish the series. I wasn’t accepting her (sort of) change of heart.

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  25. The witch in Hansel and Gretel.

    Couldn’t touch the book or look at the pictures.

    Many of the Grimm witches (mothers) had the same effect on me, and there were a lot of them.

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  26. Snape — though it’s hard to say if I love him because of his character in the book or because Alan Rickman plays him in the movies (I did NOT like how they wrote him in the HBP movie, however — not tortured enough).

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  27. Dolores Umbridge. Oooh! I hate her and her little bow and all her fluffy kittens! And her gruesome pen!

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  28. AE, You crack me up!
    🙂

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  29. So many good ones to choose from! But I’m going with Cassandra Clare’s Valentine from The Mortal Instruments trilogy.

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  30. Mrs. Coulter!

    She’s so evil but I really like her. Not only because she’s such a great character but also because, in the end, she has a soft side for Lyra.

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  31. The Capital from The Hunger Games.

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  32. Here’s another vote for The Trunchbull! Matilda was my most-read book as a kid, and in my opinion she was Roald Dahl’s most despicable villain (what a pool to choose from, though…)

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  33. Also, Mrs. Coulter was portrayed by Nicole Kidman, and if she isn’t Evil Incarnate, I don’t know what is.

    I love Nicole Kidman. I love me some icy, tall, blonde, possibly thigh-high boot-wearing shiksas.

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  34. Professor Umbridge!

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  35. I’m going with the White Witch/Jadis from the Narnia books, too. She’s beautifully written, and a perfect illustration of cold, pure evil. I think she’s also a great example of a complex, layered villain that’s also entirely unsympathetic. I don’t care *why* she does what she does, I just want her to stop! And I always shiver when she appears on the page.

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  36. Nellie Oleson from The Little House on the Prarie series. Oh how I loved to hate her!

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  37. The Beast. From the classic fairy tale – Beauty and the Beast. At first you hate him for his transgressions and aggressions then you begin to see more…and more.
    The true bad boy with a true heart. The only constant is change.

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  38. No question I have to agree with my daughter, Maegan. Mrs. Coulter, hands down. Incredibly intelligent, seductive, sinister, relentless and ruthless. A viper!
    She is the quintessential villain. As much as you hate her and all that she stands for, you look for her at every turn.
    Soft side for Lyra, though? Hmmmm.

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  39. Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events from me, too!

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  40. Delores Umbridge – definitely.

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  41. Dolores Umbridge. Just the thought of her makes me want to throttle something.

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  42. My dear friend Chistine Eldin, the problem is I am not trying to be funny. These books really terrified me as a four, five, six year old. I remember every iota of these years. That is why I write and illustrate them with my truth and honesty.

    Good chatting today, you good writer you!!

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  43. In classic fairy tales, I’ll never forget Baba Yaga and her house on chicken feet. Also, Jack in the Graveyard Book and the other mother in Coraline.

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  44. I’ve gotta go with the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid. She’s great in both the orginal Hans Christian Anderson version and in the Disney version.

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  45. Way late to the party here, because the final villains have been chosen. But from my childhood, my favorite villain was from one of my all-time most beloved books, A Little Princess, Miss Minchin.

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  46. […] This post was Twitted by nomadshan […]

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  47. Meanwhile, Depp’s Mad Hatter is so dull and phoned-in that one can barely call it acting (Unless putting on too much blush and a stupid wig counts.), Mia Wasikowska’s Alice is so wooden that I kept expecting the Cheshire Cat to use her left arm as a tree branch, and while Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen is mildly amusing, the odd chuckle here and there isn’t enough to save this exercise in fantasy sleepwalking.

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