As part of the Inferno Blog Tour, I am pleased to welcome Catherine Doyle onto the blog to tell us who her favourite villains of all time are. Catherine is presently in the middle of promoting Inferno, the second book in her Blood For Blood series, which is published by Chicken House this month.
Originally, I was going to write about my favourite villains in YA literature, but then I had the horrifying realization that I wouldn’t get to include Jafar from Aladdin, so I thought I would throw the gates wide open and welcome my top villains from all different walks of media, Disney movies included.
Here follows an eclectic list of these not-so-fine folk:
The Trunchbull, from Matilda by Roald Dahl: This was properly the first proper villain I encountered in a story, and good God, she’s a great one. Between her flagrant disregard for child safety (understatement) and her special ‘chokey’, Agatha Trunchbull is just a straight up terrible human being. Mean-spirited, sour-faced, cruel, taunting, unconcerned and just plain rude, she was the first literary character to give me nightmares. I mean, who put her in charge of all those children? Yes, yes, I know, Roald Dahl did for plot contrivance, but still, she gives me shivers. Even to this day, I can’t look at a chocolate cake without a small voice in the back of my head chanting ‘Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!’. I mean, I still eat the cake, but the memory remains.
Mrs Coulter from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman: Beautiful, young and cold, Mrs Coulter comes from a particular genre of villains that I’ve always been fascinated by – the ones who wear the tightest masks. She presents herself as something totally other than what she is, and despite the fact that she shows some level of regard for Lyra, not to mention the fact that they share a pretty cool ‘I am your parent’ reveal à la Darth Vader in Star Wars, it’s still not enough to redeem Mrs Coulter’s lifelong determination to essentially suck the souls out of innocent, defenceless children. Not cool, Coulter. Not cool.
Jafar from Aladdin: Is it just me or is this guy villainously charming? Maybe it’s the curling beard, the creepy facial expressions or the blatant evilness with absolutely no redeeming factors. I think most of my interest in Jafar comes from how outrageous he is as an antagonist, coupled with that infallible fashion sense. That robe. That hat. Also, my admiration is probably helped by the fact that he is clearly the human version of Scar from The Lion King. Same face, people. Just a little less lion-ish.
Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter: It probably seems silly to pluck a villain from the Harry Potter series and not have it be the villain-de-resistance, old Voldy himself, but this lady just got right under my skin. She’s still there, actually. Get out of my life, Umbridge! At least we got some background on Tom Riddle – some weakness here and there, a little vulnerability. Umbridge, however? Literally, the spawn of Satan. Well, not literally, but we don’t know for sure, do we? Anyway, whenever I talk about Dolores Umbridge, I just get ranty, so I’ll just leave it at this: she is pretty much the worst.
Valentine from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare: In the books, Valentine was pretty evil. He had a ‘cause’ against the Downworlders, which made him even more dangerous, because, simply put, he thought he was right. And when a villain believes what they’re doing is just, then they fall into a whole other catetorgy of ‘Heinous Bad Guy’. In the film, Valentine is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who was lucky enough to win the aesthetic lottery at birth. This means that his general facial loveliness was somewhat distracting for me, and I found myself overlooking the moral shadiness of his character a bit too often. In the books, he’s still totally villainous though.
Shout-out to President Snow in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: He’s not one of my all-time favourites, but I love how he took the symbol of a rose and completely destroyed it to be point where something so romantic and beautiful actually becomes repulsive. Quite a villainous skill, in my opinion.
Inferno was published on the 7th January 2016
Sophie's life has been turned upside-down, and she's determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she's trying to forget, won't give up on their love - and it's Luca's knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace - and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie's in deeper than ever.
To find out more about Catherine Doyle: