Let’s talk about something villainous. Sounds fun, right? Who are your top five antagonists? A Drift of Quills takes a walk on the dark side…!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks
Oh, dear, so many villains, so few spaces in the list…! Granted, antagonists are not always villains, per se, but someone or something manifesting opposite actions, thoughts, or motives than the protagonist. Still, I’ve chosen to lean toward the villainous in my list. I enjoy the motivations and thought processes of characters over, say, weather or landscape.

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Weeks of mulling over various evil qualities and their deployment (Ho! Launch the greed! Commence the revelation of dark secrets!) gave me a list. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following, in no particular order:

Let’s talk about something villainous. Sounds fun, right? Who are your top five antagonists? “A Drift of Quills” takes a walk on the dark side…! www.robinlythgoe.com 1. Becky Sharp, Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray

Astonishingly manipulative, self-serving, cynical, and charming. She’s one of those characters that makes you gasp in outrage and laugh at the same time. Well done, Mr. Thackeray! (And the television series starring Olivia Cooke was brilliant.)

2. Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

So. Self. Righteous. Her cuteness is in such vivid, horrifying contrast to her appalling deeds. She still gives me the shivers.

3. Utuk’u, Memory, Sorrow & Thorn, Tad Williams

This one makes me think of a patient, eternal spider, single-mindedly weaving her revenge over the course of thousands of years. What kind of crazy-sauce person would spend so much time getting even??

4. Loki, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Thor)

Mischievous, lying, meddling—hysterically funny. (And played so perfectly by actor Tom Hiddleston.)

4. Bairith, The Mage’s Gift series

Yes, I’m choosing one of my own characters, described by one of my readers as “the essence of evil … (an) individual who does horrific things to others and never claims responsibility for their actions.” I find writing him both intriguing and challenging. Readers claim he is creepy. I rub my hands together and chortle.


“P.S. Broaddus” width=Author of The Unseen Chronicles
Parker’s website

Mine is a list of truly evil baddies, fantastic villains, complex antagonists, and a lovable toad. In the style of FilmFisher’s “Undefended” articles, I’m putting these forward with only minimal comment.



Patricia RedingAuthor of the Oathtaker Series
Patricia’s website

Since the antagonist in a story is frequently a villain, the first antagonist/villain that comes to my mind is … Now, don’t laugh. It’s Cruella deVil. There are goods reasons for this. Well, good reasons to me, anyway. You see, Cruella, as played by Glenn Close (who I had the great pleasure of seeing on Broadway a couple years ago) gets to wear the most amazing things! I’d like to try some of the things she wore—perhaps with a bit less in the shoulder padding department, to be sure—but aside from that, who wouldn’t have fun dressing up like Cruella from time to time? Seriously though, Cruella is deliciously naughty, and thoroughly egocentric. It would be so much fun to play her character

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Who are some of your favorite villains? Share in the comments below!