Top Five Friday: Villains

Hey everyone! This is the first Top Five Friday post on Indoor Sojourner, in which I'll be listing five book villains that are either completely sinister, strangely lovable or anywhere in between.

Without further ado, let's get started!

5. Javert-Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Even though he's technically more of an antihero, Javert's ruthless and unforgiving tactics of hunting down Jean Valjean establish him as the antagonist of the story. Javert believes wholeheartedly that it's his responsibility is to stop at nothing to apprehend Valjean, and by doing so, the world will be a better place. Valjean is an escaped convict after all, and as a man of the law, it's Javert's duty to cleanse the streets of any lowly criminals. However, by the end of the story, he realizes that Valjean has been nothing but forgiving to him in his years as a fugitive, and ultimately, his actions were more vicious than just.

4. The Darkling-The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Darkling is definitely one complicated villain. Without spoiling the trilogy, I'll just say that his backstory is a tragic one. On the outside, he's ruthless, power hungry and seemingly invincible, but if he only had a bit of love and compassion in his life, his story could have turned out much differently. Even though the Darkling's main goal in life is to literally fill the world with darkness, his deceptive charm and heartbreaking backstory somehow makes you want to root for him, making him all the more interesting as a character.

3. Queen Levana-The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
(warning: spoilers)

Anyone who's read this series knows how hungry for power Levana is, but if you've also read Fairest (the companion novel to this series that outlines Levana's past), then congratulations! You have a further understanding of how truly disturbed she has been for most of her life. When they were children, Levana's older sister Channary pushed her into a fire, forcing her to constantly used her Lunar powers to cover her disfigurement and make herself look beautiful. From that point forward, Levana convinced herself that she always deserved what she wanted; when the man she loved didn't love her back, she forced him to love her with her powers. Later, when she decided she wanted to be queen, she attempted to kill her own niece as a baby. Although she may be the most powerful woman in this fictional world (at the moment), deep down, she's still an insecure girl who never got approval from the ones she loved.

2. Ursula Monkton-The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
(warning: spoilers)

I originally had Ursula lower on the list, but the more I thought about it, the more I remembered just how downright terrifying she actually is. When the main character goes to a mysterious spirit world with his friend Lettie (none of which is explained in depth), Ursula takes the form of a worm, lodges herself into the character's foot and hitches a ride straight into his household.

...Yeah. Let that sink in for a second.

As if that isn't unsettling enough, she takes the form of a young woman and is hired as a sweet, unassuming nanny for the protagonist and his little sister. At this point, his own parents don't believe him when he tells them that the lovely new nanny is evil; she basically traps him in his own home and makes his life a living nightmare. Ursula Monkton doesn't have a soft side or a terrible past that we as readers can relate to; evil is woven into her very core.

1. Big Brother-1984 by George Orwell

Big Brother has made it to number one in this list and he's not even an actual character that we see in any point of the book; he's merely a concept that the Inner Party created to keep the public under control. However, whether or not he's actually a person is a moot point, because his control of Oceania is so strong that no one can possibly overtake it. Big Brother and the Inner Party completely control every aspect of the people and their perception of the world around them. To me, one of the most unsettling aspects of Big Brother's reign is that the documentation of history itself is altered to keep the nation under control. As a character, Big Brother is one of the most influential villains in literature as a whole.

If there are any villains you'd like to add to the list, feel free to put them in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Indoor Sojourner