Thursday, July 26, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Best Moustache-Twirling

Who’s the worst fictional villain you can think of? As in, the one you hate the most, find the most evil, are happiest to see defeated? Not the cardboard, two-dimensional variety, but the most deliciously-written, most entertaining, best villain? Not necessarily the most “evil,” so much as the best-conceived on the part of the author…oh, you know what I mean!

I am finding that this is not such an easy question to answer. I read a lot of books with bad guys but rarely do they stand out--at least not at this moment when I most want to remember them. The villians that do catch my fancy are the ones that while evil, have also earned my respect. The authors have created them in such a way that brings them to life, make me feel for them, and despise them all at the same time. The first two are the more obvious ones, and I would not be surprised to see them on quite a few lists.

Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Hannibal is not only one of the most brillant fictional serial killers but frightening as hell. This is not a man I would want roaming the streets.

Another character who comes to mind is Dexter Morgan from the Jeff Lindsay series. Dexter is a blood spatter pattern expert who sidelines as a serial killer. He is a charming character, and it is easy to forget he is not such a good guy when he only kills human predators who kill and harm innocent people. It never fails that when I start feeling too much of a connection to Dexter, the author, makes sure to remind me just how cold blooded the hero of the novel truly is.

Finally there is the Leanansidhe, Harry Dresden's faerie godmother from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. Although evil is not the word that comes to mind when I think of this character, Lea certainly is not one I look forward to Harry having to deal with when he gets in a tight spot. She is cunning to say the least, and even though she seems to care about Harry on some level, her intentions are rarely without a cost.

**While I have seen the movie, The Silence of the Lambs, I have not seen beyond the first television episodes for both The Dresden Files (SciFi) and Dexter (Showtime). Someday perhaps. Just not today.**

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


  1. Hi Wendy! Great list. :)

    I'm telling myself I need to catch up on my reading...and Thomas Harris' books are a must-read for me. ;)

  2. Yikes, I haven't read any of these. I have seem previews for Dexter, but it just looks too dang scurry for me! Thanks for coming by earlier.

  3. Oh my. Harry's godmother is certainly a right proper... villian. I've read all Butcher's books and can't wait for the next one but she never even crossed my mind.

    Dexter comes from a series of books? Do they have a collective title and is Jeff Lindsay the author or a character?

    And Hannibal certainly is a classic villian but I didn't get all the way through Hannibal and haven't even thought about Hannibal Rising. The first two were enough.


  4. I haven't read or seen any of these but just wanted to say that I agree that the "best" villains are not the one-dimensional, totally evil ones, but the ones who are complicated and with whom you sympathize or understand to some degree.

  5. Melody - I hope you will enjoy them when you get to them. Hannibal's something else.

    Trish - I haven't seen the tv show beyond the first episode so I can't speak for that. The books are a lot of fun though--great humor mixed with the more serious stuff. They can be somewhat gory at times.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    CJ - I wasn't sure Lea qualified exactly, but she's one of the characters that came to mind.

    I haven't read Hannibal Rising yet either and am not sure I want to. I did read Hannibal but wasn't all that impressed. I really really liked Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs though--and that's is how I will always think of Hannibal.

    The TV show Dexter is based on Jeff Lindsay's books. They have catchy titles with Dexter's name in them (Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and the upcoming Dexter in the Dark). I highly recommend them for any fan of thriller type books with a slightly different slant to them.

    Barbara - Exactly! At least, that's my opinion. I'm glad someone out there agrees. :-)

  6. Hi Wendy, I've heard a lot about Hannibal but haven't read or watched any of the movies/books. Happy BTT!

  7. Hi, Alice! He's pretty well known around the world by now, I think. If you get the chance, I hope you will read or see at least Silence of the Lambs.

  8. You are too right on Lecter. I haven't read or heard of the others.

  9. Geez, how could I have not thought of Hannibal Lecter??? "The Silence of the Lambs" kept me awake for weeks! Also, about two weeks after I finished it, I heard someone mention fava beans, and nearly passed out ...

  10. Erin - Hannibal is one of those literary characters that has really taken a place in our pop culture, hasn't he?

    Bridget - Although it wasn't Hannibal who was the main bad guy in Silence of the Lambs, I still pause and try and avoid parking next to certain types of vans if I'm by myself and there's not a lot or other cars around. The book has stayed with me for all these years.

  11. Ugh, just thinking about Hannibal Lecter gives me the creeps! Interesting choice.

  12. The first two you mentioned are both interesting characters and you have to really remind yourself they are villians. I have only seen the film of Silence of the Lambs and remember Hannibal helping out with the investigation despite being a killer. Dexter is a TV show I have been watching when I am in and I haven't made my mind up about him yet. I am not sure it's ok to tell people you can kill those who escape the criminal justice system...

    I haven't started reading Jim Butcher yet, but I have the first book in the series to get around to soon.

  13. Howzerdo, Melanie and Kelly -
    Yes, Hannibal Lecter is one creepy villian.

    Rhinoa - Yes! I think that is partly what makes me think of them as being my favorite villians. As for Dexter, I can only speak for the book character, but I find myself liking him, but he still isn't someone I would want on the streets. Sure he targets bad people, but he still has little to no conscious.

  14. Great list of villains! This is a tough question, isn't it?


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