Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Villains

I'm back.  A nice topic for the Top Ten Tuesday this week.  Villains.

1. Sarumon The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.  Maybe the big baddy was Sauron, but who can relate to him/it.  Sarumon on the other hand was a despicable traitor.  We've all come across our own Sarumons, maybe they weren't about world domination, but that doesn't make our very own Sarumon less of a prick.

2. Humbert Humbert Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  Maybe my favorite novel, partly because of the character of Humbert, the ultimate unreliable narrator.  He makes your skin crawl on one page, and you catch yourself sympathizing with him on the next.  I can think of no better way to illustrate Nabokov's mastery than this.  He evokes sympathy for a pedophile in the reader.  Are you kidding me?

3. Tony Cardo A Morning for Flamingos by James Lee Burke. Robicheaux goes undercover and finds himself living under the roof of mob kingpin Tony Cardo.  Cardo is pretty much your run of the mill mafioso, except that he has a paraplegic son, whose love is constantly pulling him apart at the seams.  The father-son relationship here also has Robicheaux conflicted. The book is the best of the Robicheaux series because Cardo is Burke's greatest character.

4. Judge Holden Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.  I should point out that I'm just writing these as they come to me, so they aren't in any order of "bad-ness".  I point this out now, because the Judge should top any of these lists if you've read Blood Meridian.  He's an enormous, hairless, white (Moby Dick white) man of elite intellect that is totally committed to violence and basically thinks it is man's nature to kill one another.

5. Terry Lennox The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.  As is usually the case with Chandler, the whole cast comprise a great villain.  Lennox stands out in particular, because it is a drunken Lennox that we are first introduced to in the book, and Marlowe for some reason sees him as a wounded bird and helps and befriends him.  And the reader totally buys it, because Lennox is THAT good.  It is Marlowe's friendship with Lennox that sends him circling around the bowl.

6. Javert Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  Has there ever been a more obsessed villain?  This story is as much about Javert's conviction that the law is always moral slowly eroding away, as it is about Jean Valjean's search for redemption.

7. Patrick Bateman American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.  I hated this book.  I hated Patrick Bateman, the yuppy serial killer that is the main "protagonist".  I also happen to think this reaction is exactly what Ellis wanted.  I'll probably never read another Ellis book again (I've read Rules of Attraction as well), so it may have been a bad marketing move...HATE Bateman.

8. Gutman The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.  He is sort of a lovable villain.  There's something romantic in his obsessive pursuit of that black bird.  But don't be fooled he's also a devious S.O.B.

9. Veruca Salt Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.  Of all the bratty kids that accompany Charlie to the chocolate factory, she's the one who has stayed with me all of these years.

10. Lady Macbeth Macbeth.  by William Shakespeare.  Willie's best femme fatale (?).


  1. Oh Bateman. It's so hard to follow him on his exploits but you're right, I do think we both had the reaction Ellis was intending. I've also read Rules of Attraction (my friend made me after I made her read American Psycho) but I won't be going after more of his books.

  2. Javert! I forgot about him. And Villefort in The Count of Monte Crist...may have to give him an honorable mention on my list.

  3. Great list! I definitely need to add Lolita and Les Miserables to my TBR.

  4. Ooooh, Lady Macbeth is such a great villainess, but I love her so I couldn't put her in my list.
    I thought about Gutman too, but he didn't quite make mine--he was ousted by Valmont from Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

  5. I bet the Blood Meridian character is an awful bad guy. I accidentally stumbled on one of this author's books a few years back and was amazed at his writing. He seems really good at depicting badness.

    Here's my Top Ten Baddies List.

    I hope you will also stop by my blog, Readerbuzz, and enter to win A TRIP TO PARIS or a $25 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE!

  6. Only about week late responding to these...
    Red - yep don't like Bateman or Ellis for that matter...though I loved the movie "Less Than Zero"

    Bev - Javert is a fantastic character. I haven't read "The Count..." yet

    Biblio - they are two great ones

    Birdie - most of my villains I love as characters

    readerbuzz - Judge Holden is the epitome of evil