School started this week. My last year of college before I am unleashed unto the adult world. You've been warned.
On a completely unrelated note, here is a list of the top 5 villains ever to grace the pages of your favorite books or pixels of your TV screen.
Without a good villain, you can't have a good story. Whether the bad guy is nature itself, a power-hungry sorcerer, or a teenage bully, they have to be just as compelling and engaging as the hero.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I like villains who are terrifying, complicated, and human (at least in the sense of personality). Caricatures like the child-eating witch in Hansel and Gretel, while classic, just don't cut it for me. Why is she eating children instead of her vegetables? Why does she set her trap in the middle of freaking nowhere? (One of the reasons I have problems with a lot of superhero movies is because of their villains. Some of them are amazing [i.e. Joker], while others are just dumb and two-dimensional [i.e. the Enchantress from Suicide Squad].)
So these are the villains I've found to be the most captivating, complicated, and sometimes redeeming. Enjoy! :)
Please note: I'm not including Voldemort, Darth Vader, or Hannibal Lector on this list because everyone else already talks about them all the time, and I like finding and sharing new things. :)
5. Gary Sitterson and Steve Hadley (Cabin in the Woods)
If you haven't seen Cabin in the Woods (and I highly recommend that you do), here's the breakdown: five twenty-somethings go to a cabin in the middle of the woods for the weekend and end up tortured and murdered by a bunch of zombies, which are controlled by these two bozos in the tech room: Gary Sitterson and Steve Hadley.
These two are great villains because A: they're hilarious. They're sarcastic, they crack jokes, they run a betting pool as to which monster gets summoned (Hadley always chooses a merman because he's a dork) and throw massive parties in the office with tequila shots at the end of the day. They're the coworkers everyone wishes they had, who specialize in behind-the-scenes, underground torture.
And B: you kinda root for them. Because if they don't brutally kill these five youths, the world gets destroyed by ancient evil gods.
As far as villain justification goes, that's a pretty good one.
4. Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire)
She's on this list just for being played by Lena Headey. That woman deserves every award she's ever gotten and more. (The Walk of Shame took three days to shoot. Three days of people throwing food and shouting insults while she walked around in less than a sheet.)
Cersei is an amazing villain. She's almost--almost--inhuman in her evilness, from ordering the death of twenty kids (including a baby) who could threaten her reign just by being Robert Baratheon's bastards, to blowing up the sept. She's a liar, she shows no remorse or guilt for the things she's done, and she's fucking her brother. *shudder*
Her only redeeming quality is her love for her children. It was the one thing even her enemies gave her credit for. When Joffrey was poisoned, when Myrcella was brought home in a casket, you felt bad for her, because she wasn't a ruthless, evil queen in those scenes. She was a mother who'd just lost her babies. By the time Tommen jumps out a window she's just resigned and cold, and she's lost the only thing keeping her human.
Again, amazing actors. Sir Ian McKellan is one of my all-time favorite movie stars, and Micheal Fassbender isn't too shabby himself.
But I love Magneto not just because of his terrifying abilities and the complicated (and gut-wrenching) history he has with Charles Xavier (I cried during their last scene together in X-Men First Class, when Charles is shot and they both realize they're going to be enemies now). My favorite thing about Magneto is the irony.
He's a Holocaust survivor, so he intimately understands the consequences of such legislation as registering mutants and fear campaigns. And his solution to this oppression is to murder as many non-mutants as possible. It's almost as if he's running a genocide or mass murder against an entire people. Weird.
2. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
(I'm talking about the show. Not the movie. Never the movie. The movie must be burned.)
Zuko was the first villain I ever loved to hate, and then sympathize with. We do nothing but absolutely hate him for the first half of season one, given as his goal is to capture the Avatar, the world's last hope for peace and an end to the hundred-year war.
And then we learn his backstory. See that giant scar? Courtesy of his dad. Oh, and his sister is cold, calculating, a bit insane, and a worse villain than he ever was. His entire nation hates him, having banished him at age 13, and his mom's been presumed dead for much longer. Really the only friend and ally he has is his Uncle Iroh.
Then in season two, when he becomes a fugitive, things get really grey. He's not actively hunting Aang and the other good guys anymore. Now he's just struggling to survive. He starts empathizing with the good guys...and then rejoins the forces of evil when he should've joined Aang's team right there you son of a bitch!!! (I was a very pissed off eleven-year-old when the season two finale came out. Soooooo pissed.)
But then season three happened and he joined the good guys. Hooray! :D
1. Luke Castellan (Percy Jackson Series)
(Again, we'll just pretend the movie doesn't exist, except to make cute gifs like the one above.)
Stole Zeus's lightning bolt in an attempt to start a massive war between the gods and demigods.
Betrayed said gods and demigods after protecting them at Camp Half-Blood for five years.
Took command of an army of monsters--literal Greek monsters--and tried to kill all the gods and demigods that way.
Let an ancient, evil Titan named Kronos (the guy who ate his kids so they couldn't overthrow him) possess him after taking a dip in the Styx to become indestructible (like Achilles).
So, yeah, he's a bad kid. But again, you empathize with him. Because demigods get a rotten deal. They're constantly hunted by monsters and evil beings. More often than not their mortal parents are dead or kicked them out. And instead of being treated like actual human beings and beloved children by their Olympian parents, they're used like pawns against the other gods, if they're not ignored altogether.
With all that crap going on, it's no wonder that Luke honestly thinks he's helping all demigods by doing what he's doing. After all, Kronos and the Titans overthrew Uranous. And then Zeus and the Olympians overthrew Kronos. Demigods are the next logical step, right?
You gotta love the worst kind of villain. The bad guys who think they're the good guys.
Thanks for reading! :)