Alenna, the main character in The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse, is just your average sixteen-year-old girl. Except, you know, for the fact that she lives in the UNA, a military state that used to be Canada, the US, and Mexico. Oh, and her parents were kidnapped and killed for opposing the government. And we can’t forget to mention that she’s being sent to a prison island called The Wheel because a personality test shows she’s a potential criminal. You know, totally average.
Once on The Wheel, Alenna meets a mysterious, charismatic leader called The Monk. He has a huge following of people called Drones and he controls most of the island. But there’s definitely something strange about him. Is he just a particularly good leader? Or does he have a sinister side?
Inspired by The Forsaken, here are our picks for pop culture’s most charismatically evil leaders. Which one do you think has the most sinister charm?
The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia
There’s no doubt the White Witch is evil—she extends winter forever and outlaws Christmas. But she has candy! And through a deadly combination of charisma and Turkish Delight, she almost gets Edmund to betray his whole family. Edmund doesn’t even realize she’s evil until she tries to kill him (which tends to be sort of a dead giveaway, no matter how charming you are).
Palpatine from Star Wars
On the outside, Palpatine seems to be a modest, loyal ruler who claims to love democracy. But on the inside, he’s actually a super evil Sith lord. With his manipulative ways, he tries to convince everyone that he’s just a harmless old man. And it works! He gains political power, influences Anakin, and destroys the Republic. What a jerk.
Lex Luthor from Superman
Even though Lex Luthor has been trying to kill America’s favorite superhero since 1940, he’s so charming that he’s elected President of the United States. Now, you’d think that going on killing sprees and building an army of supervillains would disqualify someone from being the leader of the free world, but it doesn’t stop Lex. If you could charm someone to death, Lex probably would’ve defeated Superman half a century ago.
Tom Riddle from Harry Potter
Before Voldemort gets all creepy and nose-less, he is the astonishingly charismatic and handsome Tom Riddle. Riddle can charm anything out of anyone, and he doesn’t always need to use magic. From important information to priceless possessions, nothing is safe from Riddle’s powers of persuasion. It’s no wonder he gained so many followers (although the Imperius Curse tends to help, too).
Alma Coin from The Hunger Games
At first glance, Alma Coin seems pretty perfect, from her flawless appearance to her support of the rebellion. Even though the charismatic president is technically on Katniss’s side, she’s not the nicest person. But hey, she’s got to be better than the current regime, right? Well, not exactly. Underneath it all, she’s just as power-hungry and murderous as President Snow.
So which evil leader do you think has the most sinister brand of charisma? And which rulers did we miss? Vote below!
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