Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tea Party Talk: Villains

The first characters that come to mind when I think of villains are Voldemort, Umbridge, and Valentine Morgenstern.  Each of them do terrible things.  Each of them are passionately hated by millions of people.  And each of them are a different type of villain.  Though we all feel quite strongly about these characters for the different crimes they commit, I think it's interesting how different their particular brands of evil are.

Villain Seeking Vengeance
Voldemort is a character with a pretty sad and complicated past.  He was conceived while his father was under the affects of a love potion so, as a result, couldn't feel love.  He was an orphan and raised in a Muggle orphanage until Dumbledore came to him and told him of his true identity as a Wizard.  Voldemort grew to hate his muggle father for leaving his mother and him after the love potion wore off.  This deep-seeded hate lead to him wanting to seek revenge - not only on his father but all muggles and muggle-born wizards.  

This vengeful nature eventually lead to Voldemort collecting his Death Eaters and becoming the horrible person he was.  Everything he did was because of his bitter hatred toward his muggle father.  He despised half-bloods (even though he was one) and vowed to rid the world of them.  He thought wizards should remain pure.  

Though his initial motivation was revenge, some can argue that after a while, he continued killing just for the sole purpose of killing.  He grew to enjoy it.  

There are many villains that are also on the path for vengeance in YA, though none more famously known then He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.  This angle for their motivation is generally one that is very believable and easy to connect with.  Trust me - I hate Voldemort.  If he were a bug, I'd happily step on him.  But I understand why he did when he did.  He was super pissed and throwing a tantrum over his upbringing and his dead-beat dad.  Doesn't excuse what he did AT ALL.  But it makes sense.  

The Devil We Know/Power Hungry Villain
If you're like me, you hate Umbridge more than Voldemort.  There, I said it.  I know, she isn't necessarily as evil as he is but she hits closer to home.  She's so horrible to us because we've had to deal with people just like her.  We've been in that class with that professor who is unreasonable and who makes you want to tear your hair out of your head, who doesn't actually teach you anything.  Who lives to make you suffer.  That's Umbridge.  She's a nasty, vile person.  She's familiar and to us in so many different ways because she's so like people we've crossed paths with in our lives.  And that's why she's a great villain. 

Besides being familiar and punch-worthy, Umbridge is a classically motivated villain in that she is motivated by power.  She's dying to hold more of it in her hands.  This is so obvious when we see her gain a position in Hogwarts in the fifth book.  The second she can, she begins making changes.  She twists and molds things until its exactly how she likes it.  She wants to know that she had hundreds of people's lives dangling from her pudgy little fingers.  

Beyond just wanting to be recognized as a powerful figure at Hogwarts, she wants to be a powerful witch in the Death Eater circle.  She despises half-breeds of all kinds, including half-bloods.  The moment she was given the opportunity by Voldemort to work against them, she did.

*grumbles* I really hate this woman.  

The Villain Who Thinks He's the Hero
Valentine Morgenstern is another one of those complicated dudes we see all over YA.  His particular brand of bad is really interesting, though.  He thinks all the bad things he's doing is for the greater good.  He genuinely believes wiping out downworlders (creatures such as werewolves, faeries, warlock, and vampires for those who haven't read the book) is what is best for the world.  His view is so skewed that he can't see that through trying to get rid of what he perceives to be monsters, he's become a monster himself.  It's like that saying "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain".  He's the epitome of that quote.  

He originally began hating downworlders when a pack of werewolves killed his father.  Originally, he just wanted to see that particular werewolf dead because of what it did to his family.  But he soon came to the conclusion that all downworlders deserved to die, whether they had committed crimes or not.  In his mind, they all would someday.  And he was fighting to prevent that.  

Of course, he was totally wrong and stupid.  But still, his mind set is an interesting one.  It almost makes us feel sympathetic to his plight because, really, he thinks he's the hero in this situation.  

So, what do you think?  What are some villains that stand out to you?  What is your favorite type of villain to hate?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

P.S.: Wonderland's Reader just reached 300 followers!  To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway in which you can win five awesome books!  Find the giveaway here!



  1. Hey I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award :) (Sorry for taking so long to notify you...I completely forgot. Oops.)

  2. I absolutely love this post! Great job breaking it down, Ashtyn. I think my favorite would be the villain seeking vengeance because they are typically the ones that have some redeeming qualities/can be saved and I love that type of plotline. I think I just love villains in general because they are so complex and almost always well fleshed out. The power hungry villain is usually incredibly frustrating and the one you don't even love to hate, you just hate. So much xD You make a great point that we might hate her more because she is so similar to some people we see in real life. Really great post!

  3. Hi Ashtyn! Thanks for visiting my site. Very cool post. I love Harry Potter and I too dislike Umbridge, She always makes me mad.

  4. LOVE this post! I think villians are fascinating..especially ones in the third category the ones who think they are the good guys..those are always my favorites!


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