I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Discussion: Favorite Villain

I was out of ideas for today's Monday Discussion, so I asked my husband what I should do.  He said that since James Bond was going to be the #1 movie of the weekend, I should ask about great literary villains.  He's right, the Bond novels and movies do have some of the most interesting villains out there.

The next step was for me to see if I had any memorable villains who popped right into my head because if I didn't, how could expect all of you to comment.

First thing I thought of were all of the terribly awful villains from Grimm's Fairy tales.  I have Grimm's on the mind for 2 reasons.  First, children's chapter book author Adam Gidwtiz came to visit my kids' school to talk to them about his dark, retellings of the Grimm's Fairy Tales.  His two novels in the series both made the PW Best of the Year lists in the year's they came out (click here for this year's list featuring In a Glass Grimmly).  In his talk (according to my 10 year old), Gidwitz talked about how the real Grimm's Fairy Tales did not have happy endings, were full of blood and violence, and as a result, were much more interesting than the fairy tales they were used to.  His series has brought the true tone of the tales back to our children.

The second reason  is that last month, a 200th Anniversary Edition of the Brother's Grimm was published.  It has an introduction by A.S. Byatt, who carries on the fairy tale tradition for adult readers. In fact, here is an article from The Wall Street Journal about the 200th Anniversary of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

What about you? For today's Monday Discussion, share your favorite villains from books, TV, movies, whatever.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


Kimberly said...

When "villain" is mentioned the very first (and worst) that members of my household think of is Cruella de Vil - the Disney version, I'm afraid, since not one of us at home has read the Dodie Smith classic. And as we are Bond fans too, there are a host of villains to select from these movies. Still, when it comes to literary villains, the Wicked Witch of the West from Baum's books who made so many attempts to stop Dorothy is a great favorite. I think that adult books make less of an impact with villains; we seem to see at least a speck of humanity in them (movies don't have the time to do that and so the villains like Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Darth Vader are very clearly villains)and much gray in our decision making while our childhood tales are more black and white. Black and white - oh dear, I'm thinking of Cruella's coat again. Shudder.

John, Librarian at Dawn said...

Many names jump to mind but the one single literary villain that stands apart, by far, is Professor James Moriarty of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Not only does he outsmart Sherlock Holmes (something unheard of in literary history) but manages to kill him off! His methods and skills are so intelligent that he seems to barely use any effort in executing his plans. I can't think of anyone better. As a character, he is a joy to read about. As a villain he is unsurpassed.

Kimberly said...

John - great response. You are so right about this being the exemplary literary villain!!

John, Librarian At Dawn said...

Thanks Kim!