Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lovely Books - Villains

Another Lovely Books linkup, hosted by Tracey Dyck! This has been incredibly fun so far and I really should find time to do the covers-and-titles edition before the month is up. :)
 
On to villains! Ooh, villains are so fun. Writing this post made me realize I don't know that many of them, though. There will of necessity be a few who come from ancient/medieval literature class. I'm convinced I have been stricken with some strange malady which only allows me to enjoy really really old books (you know, the literature class ones) while shunning most newer things. *heavy sigh* That will have to change someday.
 
Without further ado! Let's get started exploring the world of dastardly mischief-makers.


 
Achren (from Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain)

Apparently I'm addicted to all things Prydain. But Achren really was delightfully villainous! She's so smooth and confidant and desperate all at once - well, desperate in the later books, at least. And yet there's a glimmer of good in her that keeps peeking through - or at least, what seems to be a glimmer of good. Even after finishing the series I'm not 100% sure what to think of her.
 

Chauvelin (from Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel)
 
(And it seems I'm addicted to The Scarlet Pimpernel, too.)
Chauvelin remains one of my favorite villains of all time. A devoted Revolutionist, his duty is to track down and capture the Scarlet Pimpernel, the elusive and heroic Englishman responsible for the escape of many a condemned aristocrat. The first time I read (or rather, was read) The Scarlet Pimpernel, he struck me as the most dripping-with-evil villain ever, a wicked man motivated by sheer malice. On rereading it, however, I found he has a sympathetic and even noble side to his character - he is dedicated, heart and soul, to the cause he believes to be worthy. And he will do anything to forward the "Glorious Revolution." An-y-thing. *shivers*
 

Morgan le Fay (from Bryan Davis' Dragons in Our Midst)
 
(Yes, I shamelessly stole this from Tracey's post.)
Morgan is so evil. She just is. The way she enjoys getting people into agonizing situations - she's as good at "either - or" threats as Chauvelin, and better. How, Morgan, how, can you be so calmly cruel? Gracefully wicked, even?
For all her frustrating-ness, it's greatly satisfying to see Morgan treated as an evil person after seeing her wicked side totally ignored in the Magic Treehouse books. If only Jack and Annie knew who they were hugging at the end of Civil War on Sunday....*shudders* 

 
The Lady of the Green Kirtle (from C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair)
 
I didn't want to copy Tracey too much, so I couldn't do the White Witch, right? And the Lady of the Green Kirtle was a wonderful villainess. The way she keeps poor Prince Rillian a captive by pretending to be the good guy - by telling him he's insane when he's sane and sane when he's not - ooh, she is so effectively evil! And turning herself into a snake - what's more thrilling than that? I really have to read The Silver Chair again; I was forgetting what a delightful fairy tale it really is.
 
Roger Chillingworth (from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter)
 
This fellow is an absolute creep. That's all there is to it. He's motivated by a burning desire to wreak vengeance on the life of - oh, I suppose that would be a spoiler. Well, let's just say that poor Mr. Chillingworth did have a reason, and a very good reason, for being bitter and malicious towards a certain person. However, he took that sense of justice to the extreme. By the end of the book, he's basically a demon in human form. The glee he takes in his victim's suffering! Oh, it's just disgusting.

 
Long John Silver (from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island)
 
Here's a slippery fellow. Flattering, amiable, jocund - I would've fallen for his tricks as easily as Jimmy Hawkins did. Yet there really was some good in him, wasn't there? Or at least some good qualities. He did stick up for Jimmy a time or two. (Or am I forgetting? It's been a few months...)
 
Dragon (from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIM)

I must be getting rather desperate for villains if I'm putting a cat on the list. But if you're a mouse (and Mrs. Jonathan Frisby happens to be a mouse), cats are exceptionally frightening. I think this book made me look at our pet cats in a new way...
(By the by, if you haven't read this book, you should. It's very cute and engaging and exciting and sad, and worth the read although the ending left me terribly disappointed.)
 
Ganelon (from The Song of Roland)

(I told you there'd be some really ancient villains in here.)
This poor fellow. He had some serious jealousy problems. I mean, you have to be really envious if you're going to plot for the death of a likable guy like Roland. (Surprisingly, I'm not in love with Roland like I am with most of my fictional heroes. I'm just extremely amused by him.) And to murder your own stepson - well. *shakes head while clicking tongue*
Yet for all this corruption, Ganelon could've been a very heroic man. He had the courage and the prowess of a great warrior. It was his pride mixed with a dash of irascible temper and a whole lot of envy that got him in trouble.
 

Cassius (from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar)
 
Okay, maybe he can't be considered a villain, because practically every character in Julius Caesar is bad. But if it weren't for him Brutus never would've been sucked into that conspiracy which ruined his name for ever after. And I liked Brutus. Therefore, I am mad at Cassius.
But I also like Cassius. There's something about him. He's eaten up by jealousy and envy to the point of being pitiful, and that pitifulness only increases as he realizes that Brutus is really the top dog.

 
Madame Defarge (from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities)
 

Perhaps I should've put her up nearer Chauvelin? The both have the welfare of the Glorious Revolution at heart, after all...
She's another sympathetic-though-creepy person. I mean, I would be a bit bitter too if I'd lived through years of starvation and injustice and seeing little children run over by carriages. And she does have some stick-with-it-ness, some real toughness, that is actually admirable. But the use she puts it to! She was one of those "hags" they mention in The Scarlet Pimpernel, the ones who sit at the foot of the guillotine and knit as the heads roll down....
 
(Hey! Maybe she actually was in The Scarlet Pimpernel! Maybe she was sitting there at the beginning of the book when the aristos were smuggled out in the cart! Haha. Do you ever draw connections between books like that?)


The Goblin King and Queen (from George McDonald's The Princess and the Goblin)

It's been too long since I read this book and I don't remember too much about them. Except that they threw Curdie in a subterranean chamber, they were amusing and creepy at the same time, and they had a particular aversion to toes. But I felt I had to include them because the Princess Irene books were so cute.  

 
So there's a spattering of sinister scoundrels. Are you familiar with any of these bad 'ns? Who are some of your most detested villains?


7 comments:

  1. Villains! Let me see if I recognize any . . . The Lady Of The Green Kirtle! That's a good one. She always scared me when I first started reading the Narnia books. Turning herself into a snake! CREEPY.

    Oh, and Long John Silver. He definitely is slippery! I can't remember EXACTLY, but I do believe he was good to Jim at a couple points. But I think he still classifies as a villain.

    One villain that's on my brain right now is Mary Crawford, from Mansfield Park. She is "bad" but also VERY WELL DONE. She's not just a paper villain - she's REAL. A complex, layered, believable villain.

    Great post, Lucy!! I enjoyed reading it :) Sorry I can't come up with any more villains - I'm raaaather tired right now, so.

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  2. And one of the creepiest things about her is how good she makes herself look! There's that one quote that goes something like, "The horse made you want to go up and pet it and give it a lump of sugar, and the lady was lovelier still." AND SHE'S SO BAD UNDERNEATH!

    That Long John. *shakes head in disapproval*

    Ooh! Mary Crawford! YES! Great one, Rosie. She is sooo nasty...in a refined, subtle, crafty way. Deceiving Edmund in such a way! That wicked, wicked woman!

    Thank you for reading! and commenting! Prodigiously nice of you to stop be. :)

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    Replies
    1. Ooooh! I remember that quote *shivers*. Villainesses can sometimes be even scarier than villains, the way they're so subtle and all.

      Haha, yes, I agree. "Wicked, wicked woman."

      You're welcome!! By the way, I love the word 'prodigious' :)

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    2. Yes, yes, good point. Something about villainesses....

      Haha, "prodigious" is one of the best words ever. :)

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  3. Ooh, great list, Lucy! I don't know a number of them, but that could be due to my malady--the opposite of yours, in that I enjoy new books sooner than old. :P But my appreciation for classics IS slowly growing!

    I keep hearing about Lloyd Alexander...probably means I should pick up his books, eh? ;)

    YES YES YES to Morgan! And the Lady of the Green Kirtle! Both chilling villainesses.

    LOL, I love that a cat is on your list. Makes total sense, though, considering the book's protagonist is a mouse.

    My sister has read The Princess and the Goblin, but I haven't yet. She enjoyed it.

    Thanks for joining in again, Lucy! And my apologies for taking so long to comment. I've had a crazy couple of weeks.

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  4. Thanks, Tracey! Ha, I'm hoping my appreciation for new books is growing, too....:)

    Oh yes, I would certainly recommend the Lloyd Alexander books! Although I was rather disappointed by the ending.

    Cats can be quite frightening for mice, though maybe not as scary as Morgan le Fay. :) The Redwall books have some pretty scary cats, too.

    The Princess and the Goblin is such a sweet book!

    Thank you for hosting this linkup! It's been really, really fun. And don't worry about not commenting! I totally understand and am impressed that you DO comment on everyone's posts. :)

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