Paul.E.Bailey’s World – My 5 Favourite Fictional Villains

You’ve gotta love a villain! All the best movies, books, television series or whatever else was always made better if the bad guy was…erm, good.

The protagonist is always the one you root for, but many a time it’s been the antagonist that’s had me loving whatever it is I’m watching or reading. It might be their look; it might be their power; it might be their motive to be a bad guy; it could be a combination of the lot. I enjoy watching the villain at work. Whether it’s a love to hate scenario or a straight up love to love one, if the bad guy in anything is well put together it can make the whole thing infinitely more enjoyable.

I’m fairly certain most all Star Wars fans love Darth Vader in one way or another. Super Mario was nothing without King Koopa (or whatever he’s called nowadays – I always knew him as Bowser myself). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was a little crestfallen when Macduff killed Macbeth; the latter was obviously much more interesting a personality even if he was a touch evil.

Bad guys rule! Just ask Razor Ramon! We all feel something about the person we’re supposed to hate by design. So I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about five of my favourite villains in fiction across all genres.

Agent Smith (The Matrix) – Many will argue, but I think Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith in The Matrix is perhaps the coolest bad guy that cinema has ever known. He’s a massively believable arsehole! The way he talks and the way he goes about his business is just so sneaky and underhanded, but is then backed up by being harder than nails. Not that he needs to be hard after the first movie because he can just copy himself by slipping his hand inside people (sounds ruder than it is). Like the trilogy itself, Smith gets progressively less cool as it goes along, but that’s not to say he wasn’t still cool by the third. He most certainly was. Still delivering his ass-whooping’s and great monologues. Still looking as cool as the surface of Enceladus. Still Agent Smith through and through. Very few monologues beat the one he had in The Matrix where he talks about humans being a cancer of the earth and I love the dialogue between he and Neo in The Matrix Reloaded when they encounter one another for the first time in it just before Neo has to fight about a hundred Agent Smith’s. He’s the full package for me where villains are concerned.

agent-smith
Agent Smith – Total bad-ass! (Image from Matrix Wiki)

Hector Barbossa (Pirates of the Caribbean) – I like Barbossa more than Cap’n Jack Sparrow. Yup! I just said it. Geoffrey Rush was born to play a stereotypical pirate and he does it so, so well. Jonny Depp is brilliant; don’t get me wrong, but he’s nothing on Rush. Barbossa looks better, sounds better, is infinitely more despicable and owns the screen no matter what scene he’s in. Unlike the aforementioned Agent Smith, Hector Barbossa doesn’t get less good with each movie. He’s as brilliant when he’s a privateer in On Stranger Tides as he is a cursed undead buccaneer in The Curse of the Black Pearl. Admittedly, to say he’s a villain is a little inaccurate. He certainly has been a villain during the series, but has also been a protagonist as well so I guess that makes him a ‘tweener’ strictly speaking. Whatever he is, he’s bloody brilliant! While you only need read one of my first posts; Shiver Me Timbers…Said No Pirate Ever; to realise that Barbossa meets a fair few of the untrue stereotypes portrayed in popular fiction, it just doesn’t matter. He’s a fantastic character and one of the best villains in fiction.

hector-barbossa
Nobody has played the stereotypical pirate better than Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa (Image from Villains Wikia)

Negan (The Walking Dead) – You can count the number of episodes Negan has appeared in The Walking Dead on one hand, but I decided within three appearances that he’s one of my favourite villains ever. He’s just awful in every sense of the word, all the while wrapped up in a very physically appealing package (man crush city). Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is fucking awesome! Every ingredient you look for in a sadistic, twisted antagonist is right there in that one man. Every time he opens his mouth to speak you expect there to be some kind of false nicety; a veiled insult or threat. He delivers them often and they never get boring. He delivers his punishment with wide and toothy smiles and a glint in his dark eyes. The hilarious thing is that Morgan insists Negan isn’t a bad guy in interviews and he’s just merely acting harsh because of Rick Grimes’ actions. Either he’s deluded or taking the piss! Negan is a straight up bad guy! I’d probably go as far as to say he’s evil. But he’s also impossible to dislike because of just how much impact he’s had on The Walking Dead series. More than any other that’s preceded him I’d say.

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Negan – combining evilness and sexiness to a tee carrying his beloved Lucille; a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire  (Image from Gizmodo)

Chris Jericho (WWE) – This guy is, for me, the best heel that WWE has ever had. He’s so easy to hate because of his underhanded deeds that, ironically, millions love him and I’m of that number. He plays the smug, smarmy narcissist so well that you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s the archetype of all of those qualities. And yet when he isn’t hitting Codebreakers, performing breath-taking moonsaults off the middle rope or putting people in the Walls of Jericho, he’s allegedly one of the nicest blokes you’ll ever meet. He’s a member of a band and always has time for his fans. Then he heads out into that ring and becomes Y2J; an absolutely despicable piece of shit! His cheating and lying make you so mad, yet so exhilarated too. Fans of wrestling will argue that Ric Flair is the ultimate wrestling heel, but I’m afraid I must disagree (I often do disagree with popular opinion in wrestling. I like Roman Reigns and John Cena for example). Flair is an utter legend and he was certainly the biggest cheater of his day, but I think Jericho has so much more charisma and he delivers it in a more stylish way than Flair did. I hope Jericho is around for much longer and has another title run in him, but he’s getting on a bit now and I can’t see him having too long left. That saddens me.

chris-jericho
Chris Jericho has been and still is consistently the best heel in WWE history (Image from Next Era Wrestling)

Haytham Kenway (Assassin’s Creed III) – Of all the Assassin’s Creed games I’ve played thus far, AC3 is arguably the worst. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the game, but it was lacking compared to the others. The two things it did have though were the swerve where you’re playing as Haytham Kenway one minute and it turns out he’s a Templar (the sworn enemies of the Assassin’s) and Haytham Kenway himself who’s better in every way than the game’s protagonist, Ratonhnhaké:ton; known more commonly as Connor; who’s Haytham’s son. Connor is about the worst Assassin’s Creed protagonist there’s ever been. After three consecutive games where the awesome Ezio Auditore da Firenze was the main man, it was a real blow to the senses when his successor was a half English, half Mohawk man who had the makings of being somebody really interesting, but was just a whining little turd with no personality. I liked his father Haytham; the baddie; so much more. He was tough and uncompromising with a great level of ruthlessness. The fact that he didn’t do what I expected and turn to the side of good in the end made me like him all the more. He remained a Templar and an enemy of Connor’s until the bitter end. You get an even greater insight into Haytham’s character and the reason he became a Templar in the book Assassin’s Creed: Forsaken and it only serves to endear me to this epic villain all the more.

haytham-kenway
Haytham Kenway managed to be the best villain in the Assassin’s Creed series despite AC3 being arguably the worst game (Image from Villains Wikia)

So there you have it. I daresay there are a few in there you weren’t expecting or never even heard of before; always my intention when doing these things. I like to try and be unpredictable as much as I like unpredictable people myself. I could probably raise a few more villains I like. In fact I think I will.

I thought Officer Tenpenny (voiced by Samuel.L.Jackson) in the game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was a great antagonist. He was a thorn in CJ’s side from beginning to end and so easy to dislike in a good way. Dustin Hoffman as Hook in Hook (believe it or not) was scintillating. He looked absolutely resplendent and was such a cracking bad guy. In literature, I was captivated by Silas in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code who sounded as scary in appearance as he did as a person. Silas was cast well in the movie adaptation too with Paul Bettany playing the albino Catholic monk villain to ungodly perfection. Then of course there’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the early James Bond films; a character I absolutely adore. Charles Gray definitely hit the jackpot when he played the head of SPECTRE in Diamonds Are Forever. He’s easily my favourite Blofeld ahead of Donald Pleasance (You Only Live Twice) and Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service).

blofeld
Charles Gray as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever is definitely my favourite rendition of James Bond’s arch-nemesis (Image from Pinterest)

We all love villains for better or worse. You can’t have a good hero without a good villain. The story is always absent meaning without a good one of either. Perhaps next time I’ll go the other way and talk about my favourite protagonists instead.

I’d love to know who your favourite fictional villains are and why. What did you think of my list? Any you’d take out and replace with others? How important do you think a great villain is to a story? As important as the hero/protagonist? Leave your comments below. They’re always appreciated and always, always responded to if you didn’t know by now. Thanks for reading.

razor-ramon
I mentioned Razor Ramon earlier. Felt a shame not to give ‘The Bad Guy’ his moment in visual form as he’s such a legend! (Image from wwe.com)

42 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – My 5 Favourite Fictional Villains

    1. I’m not ashamed of my love for wrestling at all. I know a lot of people are, but I see wrestling as nothing less than any soap currently on TV, only actually entertaining. And Chris Jericho is a deserving favourite heel. He’s massively entertaining and massively talented

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      1. He still is. Obviously he’s not quite as mobile as he once was, but for a guy in his forties he’s more agile than you’d expect. His signature moonsault from the middle rope still looks impressive to the day

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  1. I knew your man crush Agent Smith was going to be on there. Haha Great list! A couple I hadn’t seen before. I agree that Barbossa is kind of a likable villian, you can see where his motives come from. Great post!
    I’ll say a couple of my favorite villians are Jonathan Randall from Diana Gabaldon’s, Outlander and Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s, Misery. Both psychologically twisted terrible people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll say. I can only imagine she got the character just right. Shame the same can’t be said for those who have played Dirk Pitt in the Clive Cussler novels that have been made into movies. Apparently he’s a hard character to cast

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  2. This is a very interesting write-up. I love the movie Matrix, very thrilling with that bad ass guy agent Smith. Lol. OMG Razor Ramon was just the coolest bad fighter. Smooth and bad ass to the core. I think my own favourite villain is Robin Hood, simply because he’s tough and I was a kid while he was my handsome adventurous hero back then. Now that I’m older, I think its Vin Diesel…I love he’s sexy voice and well shaped skull😀😀

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    1. You know, I’d never thought of Robin Hood as being a villain, but I suppose he was really. In a similar sort of way to the Three Musketeers I guess. Anti-heroes I suppose you could call them. An anti-hero is probably what Hector Barbossa is really. And Jack Sparrow come to think of it…

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  3. Okay, hopefully my list won’t be as predictable…

    First of all: Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. There is something so unsettling and scary about a person that hides their evil behind a sickly sweet exterior… especially when they are able to grab at and abuse the power they can gain.

    Second: David from the movie Fear. He scares me because he is so real to me – he does it so well. I’ve known guys just like that, luckily that haven’t gone on a murderous rage… but rages nonetheless. He’s also an attractive specimen so there’s an element of being attracted to the dangerous in this case.

    Third: Cersei Lannister and Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones… both for slightly different reasons, but they both are essentially acting out of survival for themselves and/or their families… Cersei is more brutal – but essentially they have legitimate motivations for their actions and are both very cunning women. Both good at playing the game.

    Fourth: Sweeney Todd – finally not a movie/TV show… oh wait… nevermind it is that too LOL Though to be fair two of the others are from books as well. I can’t explain Sweeney Todd in any specific reason… I guess it’s just that certain level of crazy… the kind that comes from loss and the idea that evil actions can come out of anyone given the right circumstances.

    Well shit… now I’ve done four I might as well think of a number Five… uuuummmm…. Ok ok I have one. Don John from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. While he has his motivations for being a dick in general – he comes off as being a bit of an Emo “nobody loves me” kind of guy… but instead of taking it out on the object of his jealousy/perceived enemy, he instead takes it out on an innocent. That makes him all the more inherently evil, I think.

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    1. Fucking great list! I can only relate to two of the four (Delores Umbridge and Sweeney Todd), but I can fully appreciate why you like the others for the reasons cited. Sweeney Todd (I’ve only seen the Jonny Depp movie adaptation) is a brilliant villain. I like a villain with a genuine motive, but takes it waaaaaaay too far. And Umbridge is definitely a loathsome baddie. I hate her more than I hate Voldemort.
      For some reason your mentioning the guys from Game of Thrones made me think of Cesare Borgia and then Miccheletto Corella, but neither was fictional. Micheletto was especially villainous though. If you haven’t heard of him before then look him up. Also, watch The Borgias with Jeremy Irons! NOW!
      Then your mention of David in Fear made me think of Cape Fear and Max Cady (the Robert De Niro version). He was a fucking epique baddie. So epic I spelled it like a French word!

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      1. Haha! I have heard of Ceasare Borgia, but not Corella – I’ll have to look him up. and I agree – Umbridge is worse than Voldemort in my book! I haven’t yet seen the Borgias… another thing filed away under “I plan to watch that some day” haha… oh and FYI, Mr Bailey, Grace part 6 is up for you now LOL… I’m going to try to sit here and at least start on part 7 while I’m in the writing mindset…

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      2. Micheletto was Cesare’s hired muscle. He killed a fair few people in Cesare’s honour, usually using cheesewire to strangle them if I remember correctly. Proper sick bastard! He was a closet homosexual too, right under the noses of the gay hating clergy.
        I should be working on the next sub chapter of Apocalypse Story, but I’m instead going through the second instalment of my novel and correcting any issues

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      3. Ah ok, I have a general knowledge of the Borgias, Horrible History style… no, haha, I have read actual books that reference them or have characters based off of them too 😛 but I guess didn’t get details such as that 🙂 I…am still wasting time and quickly getting out of the Grace mindset… shoot… LOL

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      4. I only teach myself in the subjects that interest me. I daresay there are many things in which you’re very well educated where I couldn’t tell you a single detail. Selective intelligence is what I have. Haha

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      5. There again I reserve the right to be judgemental about what topic of intelligence a person selects. If they’re an expert on Coronation Street or X Factor then I have every right to say my knowledge in astronomy or existentialist philosophy completely top trumps theirs, therefore making me more intelligent by default. That’s just how it works. I don’t make the rules.

        That’s actually not true. I make the fuck out of the rules!

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    1. I did think after writing this that Dick Dastardly would have been a good inclusion as he was definitely my favourite villain in the cartoon world. He was massively frustrating too. Like in Wacky Races, he’d be far enough in the lead to design and set up a trap to take out the other racers and then wait for them to get fucked by said trap that obviously fucked him instead of them. WHY NOT JUST CARRY ON RACING, DICK?! You fucking Richard Head! xxx

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