Vote Now! Our Favorite Bad-Guys-Turned-Good

We’re super excited about Despicable Me 2. Are you? If you aren’t, you should be! There are lots of reasons why this movie rules, and one of them is the awesome main character, Gru (Steve Carrell).

Inspired by Gru, the lovable supervillain-turned-hero, we’re counting down our favorite baddies who have seen the light. Even though they might seem evil at first glance, these one-time villains make a total turnaround. Who’s your favorite bad guy turned good? Take a look at our picks, vote for your fave, and let us know which ones we missed in the comments!

Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Alan RickmanSeverus Snape

Harry Potter

Snape did a lot of stuff that made him seem like a terrible person: terrorizing Gryffindors, selling Harry’s family to Voldemort, killing a beloved headmaster. The usual. But not only was Snape working for the good guys, he was super in love with Harry’s mom. It may have been a kind of creepy, unreciprocated love, but hey, Harry still names his kid after Snape, so we guess it’s all water under the bridge.


Prince Zuko, Avatar the Last AirbenderZuko

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Admit it: You totally love broody, evil, topknot-sporting Zuko, but shaggy-haired, benevolent Zuko is awesome, too. Zuko struggles with his identity, and it’s really tough for him to leave the Fire Nation behind to help the Avatar. But he finally regains his honor (er, excuse us, we mean, HONORRRR), even if it is a little awkward to switch sides. (“Hello! Zuko here!”)


Eoin ColferArtemis

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl is an evil genius. He commits all kinds of crimes to increase his family fortune, but he starts to see the error of his ways as the series progresses. Like in the first book, he kidnaps Holly Short to get tons of cash from the (apparently loaded) fairy commission. But by the end of the series? They’re total besties, and Artemis only steals, like, sometimes.


Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole ChristmasThe Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

There’s nobody grumpier than the Grinch. He’s so evil, he wants to deprive all the adorable residents of Whoville of the magic of Christmas. There’s a whole song about what a jerk he is. But he has a change of heart—literally. When his heart grows three sizes, he learns there’s more to the holidays than presents (debatable . . .), and he renounces his old, bullying ways


Buffy the Vampire SlayerSpike

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When we first meet Spike, he almost kills Buffy. It’s sort of hard to come back from almost murdering the protagonist, but Spike manages it. He and the Scooby Gang team up to fight an even bigger baddie, and he and Buffy get to be great friends . . . well, more than great friends. His punk-rock attitude and famously terrible poetry just make us love him that much more.



Doctor Who, Alex KingstonRiver Song

Doctor Who

River’s history as a villain is a little complicated. Technically, all those times she tried to kill the Doctor weren’t her fault—she’s been trained by the Silence to murder him. And we’re thinking she more than makes up for it by using her regenerations to save the Doctor’s life. Plus, she’s got awesome hair and killer catchphrases, so she’s firmly in the “good” camp by now.


Which of these baddies made the most dramatic transformation? Vote for your favorite below, and be sure to let us know which ones we forgot in the comments!

94 thoughts on “Vote Now! Our Favorite Bad-Guys-Turned-Good

    • Weeeelll, he DID join the Death Eaters to begin with, before Voldemort killed Lily. I’d say that’s pretty villainous. But hey, he more than made up for it later, which is the point.

    • Yes! He was a double agent, always working for the good. It was obvious, for the reader at least, since the beginning. Ok, maybe it wasn’t so crystal nearing the end. But in all literal senses he shouldn’t be in this thing.

  1. Oh my goodness, the choice was an easy, definate “Snape”, until they just HAD to throw Artemis in there. I’m sorry Snape… Artemis sweeps this one.

  2. I can’t choose, Zuko River and Spike????? I justify my choice of Spike because I really never saw river as “evil”



    Fine. I’ll go with Zuko. But I protest the heartbreak that I have to endure!

    • Agreed. Zuko and Snape…how do you choose!! But Snape scared me when I watched the movie so I picked Zuko though it was tough.

  5. River had lived her whole life being taught to kill the doctor. Then falls in love with him, to me that is an amazing transformation. It was hard to decide between River and Artemis . . . I up chosing River, after all she is my favourite Doctor Who character.

  6. Well…Zuko’s transformation was really the most striking for me, Snape was always a good guy (ALWAYS!) and Artemis…
    Not sure how to feel about him.
    So yeah. Zuko.

  7. AAHH!!!! THEY MADE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN ZUKO AND SNAPE!!! but I always hated Snape, except at the end…..So Zuko is my choice. AHH I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAD TO CHOOSE!!!

  8. Honestly I was like, “Oh snape! Obviously!” then I scrolled down and I was like, “Oh nevermind, it has to be Zuko! <3" and then I scrolled down again and I was like, "ARTEMIS <3 <3 <3 <3"

    I mean how can you not.

  9. I never really liked Snape that much…not that he wasn’t a good character, but he was so mean for the first six books that I found it really hard to accept his redemption in the seventh. River is cool, but she’s definitely not my favorite…and I’ve never read Artemis Fowl (and sadly so, I hear the series is good) or watched Buffy. So it’s down to the Grinch and Zuko, and Zuko happens to be one of my favorite characters in anything, ever. Period. Sorry, Mr. Grinch.

    • That was almost my complete thought process! Except that I don’t watch doctor who, so river didn’t figure into it.

  10. Snape, Zuko, and River…. Seriously??? Gahhhh.. I’m gonna have to go with Snape. Seriously though, I never really thought of River as a bad guy…..

  11. Gah, why is Artemis doing so badly? Guys, he’s Irish, he’s a genius, and he’s just downright awesome!

  12. What about the Arbiter from Halo 2 and 3? Apparently y’all aren’t as fluent in the fandoms as y’all think y’all are.

    And then their’s Megamind! How can y’all talk about Gru and completely ignore Megamind? He was the Master-of-All-Villainy who became the Protector of Metrocity. Like…wow. If Megamind isn’t the ultimate villain-who-turns-good I don’t know who is.

    I wouldn’t have listed River Song here though. Sure, she had ONE episode where she wasn’t a “good guy” but neither was she a “bad guy.” She was just doing was she was ordered to do.

    Anywho…I see that Snape, Zuko and River are neck-in-neck. Honestly, I don’t want Snape to win. If anyone deserves to when, it would be Zuko.

  13. Artemis for sure, but if you added Gru from Despicable Me, my choice would be only too obvious.
    And I have never seen Doctor Who, so… Yeah…

  14. It was tough to chose between Zuko and Artemis Fowl. They’re both such good characters! In the end, I chose Artemis Fowl because I’ve been obsessed with those books longer than I have been with Avatar. Plus, who doesn’t like an evil genius?

  15. Haha, oh Spike… Yeah, he definitely gets in with the good guys. But I honestly couldn’t say how evil he was. I mean, come on, he could’ve left his mother, but instead turned her into a vampire as well. She would’ve killed him after if he didn’t kill her. And the way he took care of Dru… I always thought he was pretty soulful for a soulless demon, even before he got it back.

  16. Ahahaha 😀 I find it so funny that so many of these are generally between Snape and Zuko… my sentiments exactly 🙂

  17. You guys are mean, making me pick from Spike, The Grinch, AND Zuko. I ended up going with Spike because Mister Grinch was mean to a puppy and Zuko occasionally gets on my nerves…

  18. You people made me choose between Snape and Zuko?? How cruel! Sorry Snape-y, but Zu-Zu got my vote, you just creeped me out lol.

  19. It was difficult. I mean Zuko or Snape? I went through six books hating everything that was Snape only to discover in the seventh book he was the good guy the WHOLE time. *shakes head* I could not believe. But thanks to him, I’ve started seeing the good in every literary character. But I had to choose Zuko. I’m sorry, I love Harry Potter with all my heart, but I figured everyone would vote for Snape, and I gotta show my Avatar pride.

  20. First of all, Severus Snape was never really evil, and River was being manipulated. Artemis was just greedy, Zuko was just fighting for his honor back, and the Grinch WAS THE GRINCH! The only one of these people who was ever truly evil and changed was Spike, and even then Angel would have beaten him if he’d been in the poll.

  21. OH MY GOD ZUKO!!!! No competition here. I literally screamed when I saw Zuko in the competition! What can I say; I’M IN LOVE WITH A CARTOON CHARACTER.

  22. I think I chose Snape because (please please don’t hate me for this..) I’m not a huge fan of Avatar, heh heh.. Never read Artemis Foul, never watched Doctor Who, never have read Buffy The Vampire Slayer.. Besides, Snape creeped me out as a little kid. Haha. (: This was a fair quiz and I enjoy thoroughly reading your guy’s comments! (:

    Oh, p.s. the Grinch was pretty darn good, have to say it was hard to choose.. Haha

  23. At first I was like, ‘Okay, I love Zuko, but obviously I’ll pick Snape.’ And then…..BAM! You give me RIVER FREAKING SONG?!?! Gosh I hate Figment. I might not even vote; how can I choose between THEM?

  24. Yes!!! I totally cheated and picked Snape AND River. (booyah) Although……technically neither of them were really ever ‘bad’.

  25. Okay, first glance: Totally Snape! I’m an obsessed Potterhead.
    Second glance: OH MY GOD ARTEMIS ALL THE WAY.
    Did the poll: WHAT?!!??? NO ONE VOTED FOR ARTEMIS!!! SOB.
    I am in love with Artemis!

  26. *looks through*

    Hmm… Harry Potter? Avatar?…

    *Gets to the end*

  27. This was honestly one of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer. I can’t choose between Severus Snape and Artemis Fowl. Snape won in the end. Can’t help being a Potterhead and him being Alan Rickman might have influenced the decision a bit. LOVE Fowl as well though.

  28. Artemis all the way. Snape may have done bad things, but he was never truly evil. He just enjoyed being the one with power for a change.

  29. I think Kurama for YYH(Yu Yu Hakusho) or Hiei from the same show are my favorite bad goes good. them or N harmonia from pokemon

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