I haven’t done a post on books in ages which, seen as books are in the title of my blog, I really ought to get back to. I’ve just been too busy reading books to actually write about them. Four books in two weeks is a rate I haven’t reached since my teenage years. I think I’ve finally got over the effect university had on my reading. Having to do so much forced reading of really long, dull articles about taxation and interest rates and fiscal policy stopped it being quite so fun to read in my spare time.
But now I’m back and thought I’d do my favourite kind of post – a list. This was originally going to be a list of the 5 Greatest Literary Villains but I got stuck. I was desperately flicking through all the books on my shelf trying to find two more to add to the list but there just wasn’t anyone who was quite evil enough. Everyone I thought of hadn’t quite stuck in my head in the same way these three had. Or, although they were very evil, they had some redeeming feature. Which I suppose in a way is a good thing. In real life people aren’t generally either good or bad – ‘the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.’
- Professor Umbridge – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I know Voldemort’s supposed to be the villain of the piece but I’m sure every Harry Potter fan will agree with me that the thought of Dolores Umbridge just makes their blood boil. She actually tortures Harry. Tortures him! And she’s racist and bigoted and just a plain nasty. But she does it all with a simpering voice and a little bow on top of her head. Hateful woman.
- Aunt Norris – Mansfield Park
I wrote not long ago about how much I love this book and Aunt Norris is part of reason. It’s her character that inspires the most emotion in me when I’m reading it. The blatant favouritism she displays towards Maria and the contempt with which she treats Fanny are written so believably that it actually makes my heart pump with anger when I’m reading it. Fortunately she gets her comeuppance at the end which isn’t the case for Umbridge, who just fades out of the story.
- Mrs Danvers – Rebecca
Starting to see a bit of a theme here with my choices. Perhaps the most villainous characters are always the middle aged spinsters. I remember getting to the bit in the book where you realise that she’s tricked the new Mrs de Winter into wearing the same costume as the old Mrs de Winter while I was on a train and actually having to stop myself from shouting out loud, ‘oh you bitch.’