Recently I’ve become really interested in reading ‘Top Five Wednesday’ posts on blogs. For those of you who don’t know, this is a weekly event created by Sam (her YouTube channel is Thoughts on Tomes), where she posts a different themed topic each week for people to respond to with their own top five. Biting the bullet, I’ve finally gotten around to joining in myself! The topic for this Wednesday is ‘Characters on the Naughty List’ – aka, your top five villains or characters that you don’t like! I do love a really well crafted villain, so couldn’t wait to talk about my top five! So, in no particular order, let’s jump right in:
1. Uriah Heep – David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Of course there was always going to be a Charles Dickens character on this list. Dickens is my favourite author, and I would argue that he is the king of creating memorable villains. With a whole back catalogue of characters to chose from the decision was a tough one to make, but I’ve settled on Uriah Heep from David Copperfield. Anyone whose read this book will understand just how much Uriah epitomises the definition of a slime ball. I like to think that it’s no coincidence that his name rhymes with ‘creep’! Uriah’s physical appearance is pretty repulsive, with ‘long skeletal’ hands, ‘no eyelashes’ and ‘hardly any eyebrows’, but it’s his character which is by far the most distasteful. He’s a shady individual whose more than likely to declare himself your ‘umble servant’ to your face, whilst viciously stabbing you in the back. A master of deception, Uriah is determined to claw his way out of his lowly station in life by robbing his ailing employer of his business, whilst simultaneously trying to seduce his innocent daughter. Dickens is a master of the caricature and this character must be one of his finest!
2. Rebecca de Winter – Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
My next villain comes from the pages of a book which is pretty infamous on BookTube. The book is, of course, Rebecca. I read this book many years ago now but it is the eponymous character of Rebecca herself who has continued to stay with me for so long after. It’s no spoiler to say that Rebecca herself is dead throughout the entirety of the novel, which I think is a testament to du Maurier’s writing that such a powerful character can be evoked from memory alone. A formidable presence, Rebecca haunts the pages of this book, the true epitome of ‘the other woman’. She’s shown to be selfish and ruthless, but above all a master of manipulation, as readers will know from the book’s main plot twist.
3. Count Olaf – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
My next villain comes from a series of books designed for a much younger audience. This is naturally the truly villainous Count Olaf! Obsessed with stealing the fortune of the Baudelaire siblings at any cost, Olaf repeatedly switches disguises and personalities to achieve his devious plans. He’s selfish and scary, a psychopath who thinks nothing of murder, kidnap and arson. Come to think of it . . . how is this man a character from a children’s book?? As you might imagine, he is the driving force behind this series, a horror of a man who joins children together against his immoral nature.
4. John Hammond – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I would argue that my next ‘villain’ is not necessarily a villain. Likewise, he is probably better known now as a character from a movie as opposed to a book, but the book did come first! I’m talking of course about Jurassic Park (review here), and more specifically John Hammond, the creator of such a dangerous park. I don’t think Hammond is a true villain necessarily, but he’s definitely a character I detest. Anyone who thinks that recreating dinosaur DNA purely to make money from an amusement park is always going to be an idiot in my eyes, but his sheer ambition for money is staggering. He proves throughout the novel that he is more concerned with revenue than the safety of his own grand-kids, and is quite frankly an idiot throughout. The author actually described his creation as ‘the dark side of Walt Disney’ in an interview, which I think sums Hammond up brilliantly. Annoying, I think the movie depicts him as much more of a benign, eccentric old man as opposed to the ruthless money maker we are given in the book. Either way, I equally detest him in both!
5. Arthur Huntingdon – The Tenant of Wildefell Hall by Anne Brontë
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have a character from a book which I read fairly recently in October (review here). The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was my first experience reading anything by Anne Brontë and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The least likeable character within this is by far Arthur Huntingdon, a man and husband who is depicted with startling villainy. Arthur is a man who is capable of turning on the charm when the need arises, but who is equally capable of torment and abuse. An alcoholic and a gambler, Arthur is the main figurehead which our author uses to warn innocent people against marrying without due care. Physically, and even more emotionally abusive, this is a man who has no qualms about carrying out an affair in full view of his own wife, a detestable act today, but one even more shocking for contemporary audiences of the time.
As you can see from above, I do really enjoy a well crafted villain. What do you think of my choices? D you agree or disagree at all? What would your top five villains be? Let me know!