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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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I love Narnia, but – the White Witch? I’d rather see her than Voldemort!

Posted by Natalie on January 17, 2009, 02:14 PM report to moderator

When I first read the title of the article I was confused…“worst” is REALLY misleading there. “Most evil” or “one of the best villains” or something would suit it more, lol.

Posted by hallowethe on January 17, 2009, 02:38 PM report to moderator

You might want to change the article title to ‘Voldemort Named Among BEST Literary Villains’ – worst implies he’s a poorly written character, and not scary at all. That’s what I thought when I read it, anyway.

Posted by Mia on January 17, 2009, 03:14 PM report to moderator

Way to go Voldy!

Posted by Libby on January 17, 2009, 03:18 PM report to moderator

Narcissus brings up a good point: how Voldy makes the reader feel. What would/can/should disgust us about him is who he’s roughly patterned after: Hitler, and as someone else pointed out, the fact that Hitler was reality and could be again. (….which goes deeper than children would read.) Part of what makes others fear him goes beyond him specifically, it’s the ‘persuasive’ effect he has on others.

I don’t think Jo wanted us to feel simply fear for Voldy, but something more complex. She wanted a bit of sympathy, (if someone had sympathized with him early on, he wouldn’t have become Voldemort AND that not recognizing others deserving of sympathy could lead them to violent ‘paths’.) She also gave the sense of not giving in to fear, but to actively fight for hope.

Most importantly, Voldy’s an excellent villain, who’s above all crude ranking, because JK Rowling ‘wrote’ him so well!!! (We know who’s best!) Carry on all you want about lists, though, because they’re still fun and make us all think, read and debate!!


Posted by Mollywobbles on January 17, 2009, 03:54 PM report to moderator
linden swallow

Possible someone has already said this, but the title “worst villains” makes it sound like they are not scary, but wimpy or badly-written. You probably would have been better off writing “most evil villains” or something.

Posted by linden swallow on January 17, 2009, 03:56 PM report to moderator

I don’t know, Padfootlover, right now eternal winter is pretty freaking scary to me! :)

Posted by DeliaDee on January 17, 2009, 05:30 PM report to moderator

“And yeah, he is kinda like a totalitarian dictator, but when I think of a Hitler or a Stalin, I feel disgust, not fear. Two totally different emotions.”

You would feel fear if you were living in in Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s USSR. Thats how Voldemort was supposed to make us and the wizarding world feel.

Posted by Tim on January 17, 2009, 06:04 PM report to moderator

I was disappointed that Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) didn’t make it, since they included several Disney movies. Even more than Voldemort, she’s the baddest villain of all time – evil for the sake of evil. Voldemort was evil, but it was in pursuit of power and control – Maleficent was just evil. But I do agree, Voldemort probably should have been further up in the list.

Posted by Cara on January 17, 2009, 09:00 PM report to moderator

WHAT?! the wicked step mother isn’t scary or the white witch or trunchball the dark lord is sooooooooooooo much scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by hpfan101 on January 17, 2009, 10:33 PM report to moderator

“We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter’s the one, and Voldy’s gone moldy, so now let’s have fun!”

Voldemort gets his commeupance! And to the people who think Voldemort is not a classic scary villain then don’t say anything at all. Voldemort is the best even if he is the villain! :)

Posted by harrypotterfannnumeroouno on January 18, 2009, 12:19 AM report to moderator

hrm …. I don’t really think scary is how we should judge them …evil, maybe …. or maybe most notorious villains of all time ….. XD hahaha ….. on that note …. Jadis wasn’t scary either. XD

Posted by erisdoll on January 18, 2009, 12:19 AM report to moderator

For a second there I was thinking ‘worst’ as in most poorly written villian..!

That list is a little.. predictable for my liking. Seriously, people are still considering Grimm’s versions of folk tale ‘villians’ scarey? They weren’t even proper villians in the originals..

Most of those villians appear to be very two-dimensional, aside from Voldemort. I guess if they all got to tell their story of how the got ‘bad’ then maybe they would seem more believable.

Voldie is brilliant though – the rise to evil, seeking blind revenge, attacking a little baby, and his fall from grace – just a true villian through and through!!

Posted by Loz on January 18, 2009, 04:36 AM report to moderator

Hello. I’m a Japanese Harry Potter fan.
On January 17th, new HBP trailer was aired on Japanese TV after GoF was broadcasted.
This trailer includes a lot of never before scene footage.
You should see this!

Posted by tomomo on January 18, 2009, 08:06 AM report to moderator

Saint Dane from the Pendragon series should be up there.

Posted by Rocky on January 18, 2009, 09:20 AM report to moderator
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