We all know that heroes make the world a safer place for the rest of us. They battle evil, rescue cats from trees, and answer to giant pictures of nocturnal animals in the sky at all times. But let’s face it: As great and brave as they are, these heroes would not exist if it weren’t for the evil that drives them forward. And because I’m a huge fan of villains, let’s explore some of the most endearing black-hearted wizards that I would quite like to have tea with.
Dear Tolkien’s epic masterpiece of a series has lots going for it. Perilous journeys? Check. Fearless (and really adorable) heroes? Check. Evil wizards bent on taking over the world? CHECK. Sauron and Saruman are arguably some of the coolest villai….antagonists in literature. Whether they’re commanding Orcs and Urukai or pouring their evil power into one ring that rules all, these two wizards have set the standard for using magic at its most evil potential. Their method? Lull everyone into a false sense of security and then BAM…send the Elf-mutations on a path of destruction. Clearly being a (creepy) giant all-seeing eye works in someone’s favor.
Could I not mention Harry Potter? Rowling’s creation of the Potterverse has sent us all into a tizzy these past few years *coughemailmePottermorecough* and rightfully so. Even though Harry, Hermione and Ron make us whoop with joy at their perseverance, courage and eventual victory, it’s actually Lord Voldemort that makes a…mark. Be it Cruciatus or Aveda Kedavra, Voldemort clearly uses magic to his advantage and elevates himself to (almost) undefeated champion of the Dark Wizarding World, adding a few (i.e. lots) of murders to his resume. This is one wizard to steer clear of in a dark alley.
There are two faces to the Witch of the Waste – the magically-made beautiful and powerful wizardess in Wynne Jones’ novel, and the slightly repulsive blob in Miyazaki’s film. Either way, the Witch of the Waste didn’t become famous for her peach cobbler. She caused so much trouble and damage, she was banished to the Wastes, where she spent time plotting and practicing. In both novel and film, she curses poor Sophie by turning her into a crone and relentlessly pursues Howl in order to (literally) steal his heart. Evil? You betcha.
The Gray Wolf Throne is the latest installment in the Seven Realms series (you can read an excerpt here), which is, you guessed it – chock full of evil wizards. If Voldy’s noselessness doesn’t do it for you, the Demon King and Lord and Micah Bayar’s unsettling talents for both evil wizardry and wooing the rightful heirs to the Queendom of the Fells should be sufficient. The Demon King uses a magical amulet to tear the world apart when Hannalea (queen-in-line for the Fells throne) is taken away, and Lord Bayar and son, Micah, will stop at nothing to restore wizards’ power in the queendom. This clearly means using cursed jewelry to make princess Raisa ana’Marianna all fuzzy-brained in an effort to force her into marriage with Micah. Does it fail? For now. But they’re still scheming…