I’m sure all of you have a list of personal favourites in the stories you’ve read (or written). Here’s my list.
Be warned, there may be spoilers along the way.
1. Raistlin Majere
He is one of the heroes in the core set of books for the Dragonlance saga. Though his role is somewhat ambiguous and is often driven by personal gain over the needs of the team, I can’t help but favour him over everyone else in the group. To be honest, he is more of an anti-hero. If you haven’t read the books yet, I can
assure you there will be times where you won’t know for sure if what he does benefits anyone but himself. But that’s what makes him one of the best, as far as I’m concerned.
2. Frodo Baggins
The smallest of humanoids in Tolkien’s world is tasked with completing the hardest quest ever. I imagine you have watched the films by now, but if you haven’t, Frodo is the main character in The Lord Of The Rings. He is dedicated, well aware of the risks, and almost never falters. Technically, he is battling with the will of an immortal Valar/Ainur (Sauron), which makes him one of the protagonists with the purest heart and mind probably ever written.
3. Anasurimbor Kellhus
So another character from another epic fantasy. Do you see a patern here? 🙂 Anyway, if you’re into fantasy but not familiar with R. Scott Bakker’s masterpiece (in my mind at least), Prince of Nothing, then shame on you. The first book is called The Darkness That Comes Before. Anasurimbor is a monk in the world Bakker created, who has the power of persuation and manipulation through logic and deduction over the rest of Men. In fact his entire race is like him, though very few of them remain, following an event that decimated the human population known as the Apocalypse. I won’t give you any spoilers, but lets just say he manages to shape the world around his will. Be prepared to delve into some heavy philosophical thinking while reading the books.
4. Brother Francis Gerard
This is a character out of the work of Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. He is the first of the three characters to guide the reader through a post-nuclear devastated world. The story begins sometime in the 26th century and continues with events taking place every 600 years after that (31st century), then 600 years later (37th century). Why he is dear to me? Because he is the simplest in mind and most innocent of the rest of the narrators, the purest of heart, and is the one who shapes things for the other main characters. The closing pages of the book (in the 37th century), makes a full circle with the MC of that time frame, holding the remains of Brother Francis Gerard in his hand and realising a fundamental truth about humans; a truth Francis Gerard learned the hard way. It’s a sad book, but excellently written.
5. Tyrion Lannister – Bran Stark
Chances are if you haven’t read the books you probably have seen the show. For those of you who opt for the show… read the books. It’s hard to choose between Tyrion and Bran. Who’s best? I honestly think Bran is destined for supreme power, though something like that always comes with a price. G. R. R. Martin convinced me of this, the moment I read A Game of Thrones (the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga, where Bran is having the last dream before he came out of his comma, the one with the crow, and starts experiencing a power
greater than just being a warg. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up ruling some of the supernatural world. That is of course, if Martin doesn’t kill him… I’d be VERY annoyed if that happened.
Tyrion on the other hand, though without any such power, he is the master of… well, everything man-made as far as I’m concerned. If you were to run a country, kingdom, or state, he is the person you want to be by your side. He too shapes the world around him, though from behind the scenes. Honestly, I can’t decide who’s better between the two.
OK, so this list is going to be shorter than the previous one. Not that many awesome villains to go around for my tastes. Perhaps it’s also because the villains in a lot of the books I’ve read are not people, but a hostile environment, a supernatural entity, or a group of people rathen just an individual. Maybe it’s because I’m too demanding from the bad guys.
1. Pennywise the Clown
I can honestly say I have never felt so scared while reading a book in my adult life. Whatever tricks Stephen King used as he was writing It, whatever pacts he made with supernatural beings, it worked. I was reading the book last summer mostly at nights, and there were moments I had to keep the lights on while reading. If I wore a hat I’d tip it at Mr King. If you haven’t read the book, It is the name a group of kids give to a supernatural entity that haunts their town and murders people. The entity appears in many forms, but the most prominent one is that of Pennywise the clown. I was looking forward to reading more of the book, while at the same time I knew it would drain the colour off my face.
2. Big Brother
Though in Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984, we never actually see Big Brother in person, since it’s more of a concept, it’s easy to understand how nasty and messed up things are when any one or any group of people want to monitor and spy on other people’s activities, thoughts, and feelings. What makes it worse is that Orwell painted a very accurate picture of our present day world, way back in 1948, and spoke of the fact that people will actually forget they live in a totalitarian world, misguided by false pretenses.
3. Padan Fain
This character lives in the world Robert Jordan created for The Wheel of Time. Padan Fain was under the service of The Dark One (in the books, those who ally with the him are called Darkfriends) and was given special powers to track down the Dragon Reborn (a name given to one of the protagonists). Now you might say “what’s so special about this dude? Sounds cliché.” He starts like this, and we all think he is an insignificant character (God knows Jordan has a thing for bringing in characters that some times are important and some times they just
disappear without a trace), BUT things change for Padan Fain. As if being a Darkfriend with special powers isn’t enough, he is possessed by Mordeth, an ancient spirit so evil that could probably match the Dark One. When the two evils met inside Padan Fain, Mordeth’s spirit merged with him instead of consuming and overtaking him. This resulted in Padan Fain succeeding in breaking his vows to the Dark One (not a small feat) and go solo (or as solo as someone with too many entities controlling him can ever be). He grew so powerful that when he entered the Ways, a world beyond reality, Machin Shin cowered from him. For the uninitiated, Machin Shin is the original name of the Black Wind that devours souls. Many had in the past entered the Ways and met the Black Wind; Padan Fain was the only one to come out of it alive AFTER the Wind caught him. Yeah, he is nasty and persistent.
4. The Night’s King
SPOILER ALERT (bigger than the previous ones)
This guy has only made his appearance in G. R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, indirectly. If you’ve watched the show, however, you have seen him. In the books he is mentioned once or twice. Not much is known about him, but since he appeared in the show it’s probably safe to assume he will appear later in the books. I say probably because the show has gone off on a different tangent than the books almost in everything. Please don’t get me started on this. When will he appear? My guess is around the time Daenerys decides to leave Essos and march against Westeros. So, this guy was once-upon-a-merry-time the Commander of the Night’s Watch, entrusted to guard the realms of Men from the Others beyond the Wall. For those who don’t know, the Others are a humanoid race made probably of Ice and Death and able to raise the dead. Oh yeah, extreme cold is probably related to their coming, though the opposite may also be true. Why is he evil? First of all, those who join the Night’s Watch take sacred vows never to leave it, and die at their post defending the realm. In times of yonder, it was the greatest honour to be among them. When I say times of yonder, I mean during the Night’s King time. He was the commander of the Night’s Watch, so when he met the Queen of the Others and married her, well… you get the picture. He claimed one of the castles along the Wall (the Nightfort) as his own and there he reigned for thirteen years. That was 8000 years before the events of the books. The atrocities he committed are still told in the North, though in the form of folk tales. Based on his appearance on the show instead of the Queen of the Others’ I assume he is the one in charge of the frozen undead hordes that threaten to overwhelm the weakened kingdom, which means complete and utter enslavement of every living thing. You don’t want to be caught anywhere near him.
So, what about you? Who are your favourite villains and heroes?