Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Interesting Villains

August 14, 2018

A weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm where we list 5 books for the given topic. We all love lists, right?

This week’s theme: Top 5 villains more interesting than the hero

I am modifying this one a bit to be Top 5 Interesting Villains, because I think if the villain truly upstages the hero, the book likely has some issues. (For the record, I loved all the books in this list, and I enjoyed the heroes as well as the villains. I also think this is a tricky one, because often the “villain” becomes more interesting when you get their perspective, or more information about them. And with that information comes understanding which blurs the lines between good and bad. Maybe they don’t come across as a hero, but they may not seem as clearly a villain either.

Jaime Lannister

from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

When A Song of Ice and Fire begins with Game of Thrones, Jaime is easily one of the most despised characters. He is horrible and selfish and has little appeal to the reader. But then as the series progresses, Martin manages to somehow flip the readers impression of him. I found not only did I not despise Jaime any more, I actually LIKED him!!! I could never have believed that would be possible from my initial impressions of him. Don’t get me wrong, he can certainly still be a villain, but a likable one that is very, very interesting.


Sand dan Glokta

from The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie

There were multiple POVs in this, and while I am not sure I found Glokta more interesting than Logan Ninefingers, I definitely found his back story and character more intriguing than Jezal, who was just sort of the run of the mill spoiled character. Glokta? I just wanted to know more about him, and how he came to be an inquistor (torturer), how and why he was tortured (and having been tortured, choosing to go into that profession himself?), etc.




from The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

OK, I feel like I’m cheating a bit here because I absolutely don’t consider Thalia the villain in this story. However, if her story was told from a different perspective, she absolutely COULD be seen as a villain. This gets into how getting a character’s perspective can flip them from villain to hero (or at least flip them to no longer being a villain). Thalia is responsible for the routine sacrifice of children due to her position, so, pretty much, she murders children on a regular basis. Sounds pretty villainy, right?? Well, when you read her perspective, learn about how she was selected for this, are introduced to her personality and inner thoughts, I find it very hard to think of her as a villain and think she’s closer to the hero in this story (though, there is certainly argument one can be both)


Charlie β€œTalent” Manx

from NOS4A2 (and The Wraith) by Joe Hill

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Vic McQueen, but I have to say Manx is way more memorable. A creepy old guy who drives around and convinces children he will take them to “Christmasland”, where he promises all sorts of wonderful things, but really? What’s the odds of that working out in the kids favor? There’s definitely more to him, the reader is just not always 100% sure what. The one thing you can be sure of, he is twisted and kids would be better off avoiding him.



Cersei Lannister

from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

She comes last on my list, because while I came around for Jaime, I think getting his perspective made me see him as less of a villain. I actually root for him now. Cersei? No way, I think she seems even MORE of a villain when you get to know her better. I don’t root for her, I don’t want her to succeed, but Wow! Do I love reading her! You just never know what horrible thing she will do or say next.


  • Lisa August 14, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I feel like I enjoy villains I can full on hate rather than sometimes relate to lol. But that does make them more interesting for sure. πŸ™‚

  • Norrie August 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I’m ashamed to admit, but i did warm up to Jaime Lannister towards the end. I don’t know how that even happened. He’s awful, but at the same time, not really?!?!

    Charlie Manx was truly terrifying tho…

  • Bionic Book Worm August 14, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Cersei Lannister is my QUEEN! She’s so evil yet she’s so perfectly brilliant about it! You never know what she’s going to do next which makes it so effective. I LOVE to hate her!
    Thanks so much for participating – added you to the list πŸ™‚

  • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum August 15, 2018 at 2:19 am

    This is a great topic. And Jamie Lannister as a character is how you know GRRM is on a whole other level unmatched by most authors. Dude threw a kid out of a window and we should all hate him, but we don’t.

  • Lynn August 15, 2018 at 6:57 am

    What Mogsy said! And, yes, Cersei – you just have to lover her – as a baddy I mean. She’s just so damned horrible that you’re glued to the page and you really don’t know what to expect.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  • sjhigbee August 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    A great list of characters…

  • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky August 16, 2018 at 2:33 am

    Great choices! I think both Thalia and Marith would work as great villains (I personally love to hate Marith :P). And I adore how despicable Cersei is.