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Voldemort Named Among Worst Literary Villains by Penguin

Posted by: Edward
January 16, 2009, 10:21 PM

Dark Lord Voldemort has made the top ten list of 'scariest villains in children's literature' according to a report in the Scotsman.  The paper details the results of a new list from the Penguin Group, which polled 600 readers, asking them to rank the literary characters they most feared.  Coming in at number six, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from the Harry Potter books by author J. K. Rowling stands along side such other great literary villains as The White Witch from C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Captain Hook from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and The Wolf from Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm.  The article also quotes Booktrust children's website editor Rebecca Wilkie as saying:

"A good villain is larger than life and does things we would never dare, but usually gets their comeuppance in the end.  Who can forget Harry Potter triumphing over Lord Voldemort and Roald Dahl's witches being turned into mice?
She goes on to note that, "For all of us, there is something comforting in the ultimate triumph of good over evil."  The full list of the Top Ten Literary Villains is as follows:
  1. White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis – 1950)
  2. Captain Hook (Peter Pan by JM Barrie – 1904)
  3. The Grand High Witch (The Witches by Roald Dahl – 1983)
  4. Wicked Stepmother (Snow White by Brothers Grimm – 1810)
  5. Cruella De Vil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith – 1956)
  6. Voldemort (Harry Potter books by JK Rowling – 1997)
  7. The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming – from the 1968 film. Not the original book)
  8. Miss Trunchbull (Matilda by Roald Dahl – 1988)
  9. The Wolf (Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm – 1810)
  10. Long John Silver (Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – 1883)

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Amy Petrosky

yes, but at least Voldemort did “love” his snake.. even gave her a cool name…gave her a nice bubble to sleep in… gave her all sorts of snacks….

Posted by Amy Petrosky on January 17, 2009, 12:31 AM report to moderator

I like the list, not necessarily the order, (admit I haven’t read a couple of those) but I don’t like the title of this article. When I saw it on my RSS feed, I was angry that someone put Voldemort on a list of poorly-crafted evil characters. I wouldn’t refer to this list as being of the “worst” bad guys, but describe it as the creators of the list itself did…the scariest!

Posted by jenbrooke on January 17, 2009, 12:57 AM report to moderator

ScottMan said: “I don’t think Voldemort was supposed to be particularly scary in Book 7. He was losing his power”

?? He was in control of most of the Wizarding world in Britain, the one man he feared was dead, and the one person who could seriously harm him spent most of the book camping—he should have been at his MOST frightening in book 7.

Posted by fenm on January 17, 2009, 02:23 AM report to moderator

I personnally think Miss Trunchbull and Cruella De Vil are way more frightening than Hook or the White Witch. Maybe because they could exist in some way?

But I do agree about Voldemort. He is abominable, he is an homicidal and genocidal dictator.

Posted by Germain on January 17, 2009, 02:39 AM report to moderator

Brothers Grim characters scarier then Voldemort, I can understand, however, The Grand High Witch? I thought she was funny.

Posted by albeit on January 17, 2009, 03:58 AM report to moderator

Eh… Voldemort being one of the “Worst” Literary Villains makes him sound like a whimp… “Best” Literary Villains is IMHO a better title :P

Posted by Vincent on January 17, 2009, 04:03 AM report to moderator

I love that the date is set as 1997 rather than 2007. Just reminded me of how old these books actually are lol.

Just ignore me and my happy little thoughts :P

Posted by Linny on January 17, 2009, 04:47 AM report to moderator

Voldie should be at the top! He’s worst than the grand high witch and all the tohers, and Captain hook. Anyway, voldie’s not meant to be scary

Posted by hambro on January 17, 2009, 05:35 AM report to moderator
Calum  Wilson

Christ man. Voldemort could top them all. When I was a kid I remember having a blank face at all the villians on those list but the only one I remember actually hiding under my covers and screaming when my mind played tricks on me and I saw a cloaked man wandering my room. It was Voldemort and I would yell for help every night lol.

Posted by Calum Wilson on January 17, 2009, 05:53 AM report to moderator

I think Voldemort is scary due to his unrelenting harshness, lack of mercy for anyone, no matter how loyal, and his thirst for blood, revenge and general destruction and anarchy… But I’m ok with the White Witch being #1, but I definitely think that Voldemort should be above Captain Hook…

I don’t remember ever being scared by villains as a child… probably because my mother hardly ever let me see or read anything scary, for which I do not thank her, lol… a child needs nightmares, heh.

but i do LOVE how the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on there… by the way… written by Iam Fleming?!? How could I NOT have known that before?? LOL…. but yeah, that guy, actually, was one of the few things that did creep me out when I was a kid… because of his big nose, and how he can smell you… shiver

Posted by tieranosaur on January 17, 2009, 06:16 AM report to moderator

The only villain on that list that tops The Dark Lord in my “fear scale” is the wolf from Red Riding Hood, and that’s only because I’m freaking scared of wolves, wear wolves and anything like a wolf. The others are just pitiful in comparison with Voldemort.

Posted by Sophie on January 17, 2009, 06:44 AM report to moderator

I mean: come on! This is the guy who killed his father and his grandparents at age 16! Which one of these people would you least want to come to your house at night? Voldemort! End of question…

Posted by Sophie on January 17, 2009, 06:46 AM report to moderator

Hmm… The White Witch enslaved a land and cast it in eternal winter, and tried to hunt down four lost kids so she could murder them and rule the land forever.
Captain Hook would routinely kill children (with a sword, I might add) with no real agenda other than they annoyed him, tried to feed children to a crocodile, tried to DROWN them, poisoned Peter Pan……

I think you can see where I’m going with this. Villains like this are much scarier to a child, because they target children and they do it maliciously.
Voldemort, as great a villain as he is, just doesn’t tip the scales for me. He targets adults, he is a very stereotypical villain (right down to his appearance), and personally I agree with most of the list.

Not sure I’d rank Cruella de Vil above him though… all she wanted to do was skin a few dogs, hardly the stuff of nightmares (unless you’re an animal rights activist)

Posted by Danny on January 17, 2009, 07:46 AM report to moderator

I must say, the white witch deserves the spot. She makes me tremble when I read the books. Voldemort deserves a higher rank though. It’s an opinion.

Posted by Kevinval_HPfan on January 17, 2009, 07:47 AM report to moderator

The headline is rather poorly worded, “worst” makes it sound like Voldemort isn’t an effective villain. Which is not what the article was trying to say.

Posted by Will on January 17, 2009, 08:14 AM report to moderator
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