Top Ten Tuesday: Best Fictional Villains

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. How it works is that each Tuesday the host assigns a topic and then posts their top ten list that fits the topic. Every blogger can create their own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well and link to the host’s. The topic for October 23rd, 2018 is: Villains. The kind of villains I like are the ones who are morally grey and relatable people. There should be a little bit of good in them, or at least the possibility of good. Here I list down five of my favourites, along with what I like and dislike about them.

TTT 10_23_2018

1. Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Like: Her ambition

Dislike: Her decision-making

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Book Cover)

2. The Swan sisters from The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Like: Their fierce, independent natures

Dislike: Their thirst for revenge

The Wicked Deep


3. Gollum from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Like: How he helped Frodo and Sam

Dislike: The part of him enslaved to the Ring


4. Genevieve from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Like: She’s just a flawed teenager going through a rough time

Dislike: How she goes out of her way to hurt Lara Jean

To All the Boys I've Loved Before


5. Princess Maram from Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Like: Her sassiness

Dislike: How she cares so little for her mother’s side

Mirage cover


What kind of villains do you enjoy in a story? What kind of villains don’t work for you? Who is your all-time favourite villain? Let me know in the comments section below.

26 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Fictional Villains

  1. Oh what a great list, you picked some amazing characters here 🙂 I really loved Maram in Mirage, too, she was such a great character. And The Swan Sisters too, I really liked their story and finding out more about them, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a time when he swore on the Precious to protect Frodo and was almost on his way to a halfway decent life but the Ring was too treacherous. But it all works out in the end, so who’s complaining? Honestly, Gollum is the tragic hero of the entire story if you think about it. 😂


  2. I would love to see how V.E. Schwab’s Vicious would potentially shake up this list once you’ve read it. Have you read it yet? I know you’ve finished her Shades of Magic series, but I can’t remember if you’ve read anything else by her yet. If I made my own list, Victor from that book would definitely be on it (and maybe Eli as well). He might be shifty, ruthless, and vindictive. But he shows unshakable determination and can be surprisingly funny at times. Plus, V.E. Schwab does a great job of revealing hints of vulnerability through his flashbacks and his present-day perspective during the present, and by the end I couldn’t help but root for him despite everything.

    OH, and Holland. A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light (especially the latter) helped me see his character in a new light. I actually got a little teary during his final scene.

    Nice to see Xifung from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns on your list! I agree, she’s ambitious, intelligent, and not the most likable character. But I also understood her decisions and her evolution to becoming the manipulative, unfeeling woman she is by the book’s end. She acted very consistently once she realized what she’d need to do, and that speaks volumes to how brilliantly Julie Dao developed her. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Vicious yet but it’s definitely on my TBR! I wanted to try and read it before Vengeful came out but that didn’t turn out quite as planned. 🙈 I wanted to list 10 but I’ve read very few books with anti-heroes or well-crafted villains that have actually stuck with me. I’m sure Vicious will definitely make it to the list once I’m through with it.

      Holland’s character development is so great throughout the entire series. I didn’t want to give much away because of spoilers but his arc was heart-breaking. ♥️

      I’m so glad you enjoyed FotL too! I agree, Dao has handled the transition so well and it was so natural. I hate to love Xifeng’s character. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list, you picked some amazing characters. The only ones I have read are TATBILB and Mirage so yes I agree with your choices. In Mirage though, Maram was my favourite character for sure. I know how flawed she was but she showed the capacity to be good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I usually end up obsessing over the antagonist than the leads in most books. I love a morally gray character to outright bad one, like Gollum here or Dr House (as in the TV series).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great choices! 😊 Ah, House is one of my favourites too and I feel like the way Sherlock is portrayed in the new BBC series, he’s no hero either. I love such complex characters but if they’re just mean or evil to serve a role in the story, they won’t be memorable for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Beth Gould

    I love Gollum! I’ve only done Top Ten Tuesday once so far, but I want to do some more when I get a chance.

    I *usually* prefer morally grey, humanized villains to the world-dominating type. But Sauron really works for me. Somehow he’s much more compelling than most versions of the evil overlord.

    In the “sympathetic villain” category, Vorbis from Small Gods (Terry Pratchett) comes to mind. And Edmund from King Lear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Sauron really works for me too. Probably because he does have a backstory that isn’t in The Lord of the Rings but is true canonically. I haven’t read both the others you mentioned, but they sound great! Will check them out one day I hope. 😊


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