T5W – Favorite Villains

T5W is a weekly book meme created by Lainey from Gingereadslainey and hosted by Sam from Thought On Tomes with a different bookish topic each week. You can check out the GoodReads group here.

Topic: Favorite Villains

Villains! More often than not, villains are my favorite characters and in my opinion, a well-written villain will easily outshine a well-written protagonist. I’m a sucker for sympathetic, yet still evil villains. Characters that know they’re the bad guy and just don’t care.

1. Dread Emperor Terribilis from A Practical Guide to Evil


(art by sandara)

“Gentlemen, there is no need to worry: our plan is flawless. The Emperor will never see it coming.”
—Grandmaster Ouroboros of the Order of Unholy Obsidian, later revealed to have been Dread Emperor Traitorous all along

“My dear friends, I have a confession to make. Some creative reframing of the truth may have taken place during the planning of this coup.”
—Dread Emperor Traitorous, addressing the Order of the Unholy Obsidian upon successfully usurping the throne from himself

What more do I gotta say?

(note: this character only appears in the quotes before a chapter, not in the story itself)

2. The Black Knight from A Practical Guide to Evil


Really this spot belongs to all of the Calamities, but as their leader, I suppose the Black Knight gets special mention. This is a man who defined an era of his country is ‘practical’ villainy. No more flying fortresses, sentient tigers, or man-eating tapirs for the Dread Emperors and Emperesses of Praes. Black knows extremely well how to use story tropes to his advantage, as well as when to avoid them. As a mentor to the MC Catherine, he has a surprisingly kind, father-like quality in him and if it weren’t for his mass-murdering tendencies, he’d be a really nice guy.

Read it here

3. Victor Vale from Vicious


Victor!! Man this guy was what really sold Vicious for me. He’s evil and he knows he’s doing bad things, yet you can’t but help root for this guy because frankly, his opponent is way worse. He’s also got a more human side to him, one that adopts abandoned teenagers because they look sad (and also maybe because they can raise the dead) and makes friends with people while in jail. He does also have a habit of desecrating books, but turning shitty self-help book into edgy poetry? Not the worst trade-off in the world.

4. Nirai Kujen from Ninefox Gambit


You don’t really get to see a lot of Kujen (Nirai is the faction he leads) until book 3, Revenant Gun, but he’s one of those guys that you just know is going to end up evil and lo and behold. Kujen is one of the mad scientist types that started with really good intentions but maybe got ahold of a little too much power and something had to give. What makes Kujen truly interesting though, is his interactions with Jedao. Without going too far into spoiler territory, Kujen and Jedao have this mutually antagonistic yet somewhat friendly relationships with a weird hint of underlying sexual tension to wrap it all up. At times, it felt like Kujen genuinely cared for Jedao and at other times… well.

5. Falcrest from The Traitor Baru Cormorant


Yes, I know Falcrest isn’t technically a villain so much as it is an entire country/conquering power-hungry nation fueled by an ethical vendetta for ‘incrastic hygiene’. Really, what I want to talk about are the people behind Falcrest and behind this ‘incrastic hygiene’ (read sewers, vaccines, and extreme homophobia), but that delves into major Monster Baru Cormorant spoilers and therefore I shall control myself. Falcrest resembles every European country in the Era of Exploration and Colonization in the 15th-18th centuries. Pair a desire for extreme unity with clever economic and manipulation of social behaviour and you have Falcrets’s bread and butter for conquering other nations. As the series continues, I hope we learn more about the country, its history, and its inner workings.

4 thoughts on “T5W – Favorite Villains

  1. My husband loves villains! He will read Star Wars novels, but only if they’re about the bad guys! lol I do think that sometimes the antagonists are a lot more interesting than the protags. For the same reason Batman is sometimes more interesting than Superman. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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