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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 think that Voldemort is not evil in the way that the children book’s evils are. He’s cruel, he kills and tortures people. His cruelty makes him more similar to, for example, a killer of an adult’s book. Even if the Harry Potter books are supposed to be children’s books, they talk about things so complex (death and life, good and evil, the decision to sacrifice ourselves for the “greater good”) that can’t be understood by childrens. So, in my opinion, Voldemort shouldn’t even be on this list, ‘cause he’s evil, yes, but not like the other evils on the list.
Sorry for any grammar mistake, i’m italian. I hope I explained well what I wanted to say. And, by the way, does anyone agree with me?

Posted by ele0206 on January 18, 2009, 09:24 AM report to moderator

I agree with Bell. As someone who was quite young when the potter books came out I was very scared of voldy and to this day I still find it hard to listen to the audio chapters of PS and GoF where Voldy comes back, but the people at penguin who made the list are all probably quite a bit older than me so they wouldn’t have had Him as a scary influence on their nightmares.

Posted by peds on January 18, 2009, 10:39 AM report to moderator

Yes, I agree with you!
And you did explain it well.

Posted by peds on January 18, 2009, 10:41 AM report to moderator

Well, I don’t agree with you at all. A human who has lost any sense of what is right and wrong is the scariest thing of all. A human who doesn’t even twitch an eyelid at somebody dropping dead in front of him, who feels nothing for victims as they writhe and scream of pain as they are tortured – that’s really scary. Especially, as we know that such people have existed, exist now and will probably continue to exist as long as humanity does. He is pure evil and that is scary. He was prepared to maim his soul over and over again to obtain immortality. We never got to know any of the other characters like we got to know Voldemort – none of the others ever really scared me.

Posted by Belsito on January 18, 2009, 10:42 AM report to moderator

Way to go Voldy!!!

Posted by ME on January 18, 2009, 01:43 PM report to moderator

Well, I guess I was too old for Voldemort when I started reading Harry Potter (I was 13 yo), because he never scared me. He was a somewhat cool villain at the end of Book 4, but that’s that.

Oh and Belsito has a good point.:) Nazi (or Soviet) atrocities were terrible because they were committed by human beings like everyone else. If they could transform into monsters, would I do that too in any scenarios. The ‘banality of evil’.

But I never thought Voldemort was a 3D character. Although J.K. emphasized the importance of choice, the backstory of Voldy didn’t really reflect that (‘he hardly ever cried’), like he was predestined to be evil. Well, not the Dark Lord, but evil.

Posted by Narcissus on January 18, 2009, 02:45 PM report to moderator

Belsito, were you referring at my comment or at the previous?
Anyway, goodnight everybody (here’s 10 PM)

Posted by ele0206 on January 18, 2009, 03:01 PM report to moderator

How could they not include the Wicked Witch of the West? But yes, Voldy is the worst.

Posted by SybilT on January 18, 2009, 10:46 PM report to moderator
voldemort follower 126

yeessssss……… voldemort is gonna rule again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by voldemort follower 126 on January 19, 2009, 02:38 AM report to moderator

Mrs. Coulter (from His Dark Materials) ought to be on there somewhere as well, IMO.

Posted by rcs on January 19, 2009, 02:45 AM report to moderator

The list seems like how I would put it… except for Voldemort not being higher up. But atleast he’s on there! :D

Posted by caseevanesco on January 20, 2009, 03:03 PM report to moderator
Lily Potter :D

Other actors don’t even stand a chance against the dark Lord !!! OMG, i totally sound like a death eater, but any how he really deserves it, Finnes is a geniuse as he-who-must-not-be -named !!

Posted by Lily Potter :D on January 21, 2009, 11:27 AM report to moderator
Alice In Muggleland

I’m sorry, but Voldie deserved first place. I mean, the $#@% tried to murder a BABY! How evil is that? What’d the White Witch do? She served up tins of Turkish Delight and turned a few critters to stone – and they were reverted back to life so weren’t even dead to begin with. Shoot. In a wand to wand battle, Voldie would make marshmallows out of the White Witch.

Posted by Alice In Muggleland on January 21, 2009, 01:48 PM report to moderator

yeah voldemort is waaaayyyy scarier than those other characters. but ScottMan has a point: during DH, he wasnt as scary as in, say, goblet of fire towards the end. He was obviously losing at this point and though he wouldnt admit it to anyone, he knew he was losing. But this rank probably goes through the whole series and stuff. Either way, voldemort is a pretty creepy person in DH anyway.

Posted by naynayyyy3782 on January 21, 2009, 03:35 PM report to moderator

Voldermort was feared more in the earlier books due to the unknown about him. However as the books progress and the rest of the wizarding world gets darker, he seems to be less frightening due Harry (and us) beginning to suss him out and figure out how to defeat him. Yes, the thought of meeting him is still absolutely terrifying yet we are able to conquer that fear because we know a lot more of what he can and cannot do. A very worth top 10 villain.

On another note, let me say that the “Child Catcher” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the movie still terrifies me to this day. I remember watching that as a child and then not wanting to visit the ice cream van later in the evening because he was the “Child Catcher”. I suppose in the long run it has saved my teeth and taught me not to go approach vans/people offer sweets without an adult present but Disney what were you thinking? Serious scary stuff right there.

Posted by Lynne on January 22, 2009, 04:54 AM report to moderator
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