Thursday, 3 October 2013

Month of Guests 2013: Joss Stirling

The lovely Joss Stirling is here again with an awesome post!  Enjoy! :D

Top Ten Villains In Books And Films

One of the parts of writing that I find the most fun and the most challenging is creating good villains.  I'm learning all the time, trying to refine the mindset of the evil side so that it doesn't seem too cliched (very easy to fall into the he's just evil because he is evil trap).  I started with the Kellys in Finding Sky but felt a little dissatisfied with the complexity of their motives - I wanted to push that further.  The Seer in Stealing Phoenix was my answer - a dysfunctional man with terrible powers.  You are supposed to see both his strengths and weaknesses.  I can't say who the baddie is in Seeking Crystal as that is a plot twist, but those of you who have read it can see I'm going further still.

So here are my top ten villains - ones that have taught me lessons in how to tackle the dark side!

10. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice - ooo, so clever and so horrible.  Austen doesn't push him too far to the dark side so it is plausible that he ends up married into the family to be a continual cloud of the Darcy and Elizabeth horizon in the post book world.

9. Darth Vader (original series IV to VI) - the villain of my childhood.  Big black cloak, mental powers, and that voice!

8. Fagin from Oliver Twist both in book and film versions.  He is a fabulous combination of tiny glimpses of kindness and greater greed and calculation.

7. Moriarty in Sherlock (the BBC version) - I really enjoyed this updated take on a villain, particularly the episode with the final showdown.  Helped by great acting from Andrew Scott of course.

6. The White Witch from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - another terror from my childhood reading: strong, beautiful and ruthless.  Also very well played in the recent film version by Tilda Swinton.

5. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter - the best of the villains as she thinks she is so good.  I find her far more interesting than Voldemort.

4. Frankenstein's creature - he doesn't really qualify in some ways as he is so pitiable but as he is also a child killer he made the top ten.  A fantastic creation that has inspired me on numerous occasions in my writing.  I suppose he shows that the best villains are ones whom we also understand.  He shares this place with Caliban from The Tempest.

3. Shylock from The Merchant of Venice.  I studied this at school and the character has never left me - a real challenge to our assumptions of who is good and who is bad in the play.

2. Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde.  A great lesson in the perils of over-reaching but also how divided we all our in our private selves.

1. Gollum from Lord of the Rings - yes, my precious!  I love the idea of evil doing good despite itself and he is far more interesting psychologically than Sauron, who doesn't really exist as a character.

Let me know your favourite villains.  Who would you put in your top ten?


Thank you so, so much Joss! This was a brilliant post - thank you so much for stopping by and taking part in my Fortnight of Guests again!! :D
My favourite villains list also includes Moriarty, Fagin, Umbridge and definitely Gollum (my brothers and I still creep each other out by whispered: 'my precious' at the spookiest possible times!!).  I think I'd have to add someone from The Mortal Instruments though - not Valentine: I always found him a bit flat, although I do love all the Lucifer references to his character.  But the villain that comes after Valentine... well, a whole different story...  Iago from Othello gets added too: the personifaction of the evil little voice inside our head, mixed with the Machiavellian characterisation and totally psychopathic manipulation he uses absolutely terrifies me!! :D I'm sure I can think of others but this is getting a little long... ;)
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed Joss' post! And don't forget to follow Joss' Site, follow her on Twitter, and check out her books on Goodreads! :D  Oh, and Joss is a penname for the lovely Julia Golding, who also writes under Eve Edwards as well!  So confusing - and sooo many amazing books!! :D
And keep up to date with MonthOfGuests on Twitter using #MonthOfGuests2013! And stop by tomorrow for an awesome and different post by the amazing Jana Oliver!!


Julia Golding (born March 1969) is a British novelist.
Julia Golding was born in March 1969 in London and grew up on the edge of Epping Forest. She originally read English at the University of Cambridge.
Golding lives in Oxford and works as a freelance writer. She is married with three children. 
In 2007 she was selected by Waterstone's as one of the 25 Authors of the Future.
Golding also publishes under two pen names: Joss Stirling and Eve Edwards.

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