Mark Walden’s top villains from children’s books


As anyone who’s read any of the book in the HIVE series has probably figured out, I have a bit of an obsession with villains. I don’t really know what it is but, there’s just something about them that always makes them the most memorable characters for me. The hero always seems a bit bland in comparison and there have been a few occasions when I would find myself rushing through the sections about the do-gooder in my impatience to get to the next bit of delicious villainy. Having said that, there are a few villains from children’s books that I particularly love and today I thought I’d share three of my absolute favourites with you.

Cruella de Vil

When my daughter first saw the animated version of One Hundred and One Dalmatians she told me that her favourite character was “the nasty lady”. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud. This fur-loving monster is one of the all time greats. How can you fail to love anyone whose first thought upon seeing a dalmatian puppy is how lovely it would look as a coat? Made truly infamous by Disney’s adaptation of Dodie Smith’s Novel she has terrorised children and dog lovers for over fifty years

The White Witch

Bad enough that she’s the ruthless, self-proclaimed queen of Narnia but, only someone truly, spectacularly evil could force children to eat the world’s most revolting substance, which is, of course, Turkish Delight. I’m sorry, my personal tastes might have influenced things slightly there… Honestly though, I’m prepared to admit that you might see turning people to stone and plunging an entire world into a magical endless winter as somewhat more unpleasant, but, really, have you ever actually tasted the stuff? I could even forgive the whole Aslan sacrificing thing but, there’s simply no excuse for Turkish Delight under any circumstances.

Willy Wonka

Wait! Come back! I’ve not completely lost the plot, honestly! I know what you’re thinking, Willy Wonka’s not a villain. Oh really? Here’s a man who invites a group of unsuspecting children to his factory whereupon they all suffer a series of mysterious “accidents”. All the while he seems strangely unconcerned by these “accidents”, almost as if he might have planned the all along…. You might think he’s a good guy but I would argue that, in fact, he’s one of the most brilliant and subtly wriiten villains in all of children’s literature. Roald Dahl is, without doubt, my favourite children’s author of all time and he produced some of the most fantastic villains ever created. Whether it’s the Grand High Witch, Miss Trunchbull or Boggies, Bunce and Bean they are all spectacular examples of the art of creating truly loathsome bad guys. Wonka’s still the greatest though….

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  • 7 Thoughts on “Mark Walden’s top villains from children’s books

    1. Anna Barlow on August 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

      My favourite villain from a childrens story is probably Captain Hook from Peter Pan. I love him because he is really awesome and I think it’s really mean how the lost boys trick him into getting eaten by the crocodile.

    2. Kulsuma on August 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm said:

      Well, Voldemort (or, He Who Must Not Be Named) is pretty villainous. I did feel some sympathy for him and think he was a great character for the most part.

    3. I realised thinking about this that I haven’t read anything with a good villain in it for ages! (Obviously I read all – except the latest – HIVE books yonks ago) Does Artemis Fowl count as a villain? He definitely sets out trying to be one! If he doesn’t, then I’d have to go for Dr John Dee in Michael Scott’s Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

    4. Natasha F on August 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm said:

      Thaddeus Valentine from Philip Reeve’s ‘Mortal Engines’. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t read it yet (DO IT NOW, it’s amazing), but wow I did not see that one coming!

    5. Hmm, so many to choose from! Spiker and Sponge from James and the Giant Peach are horrible, I remember loving it when they got squashed! My son wasn’t sure whether to be shocked or cheer at that point when I read it to him a few weeks ago. I loved The White Witch too, she was just so charming yet evil- also the witch in The Wizard of Oz. I had a bit of a witch obsession as a kid, I even convinced my mum to let me put a green lightbulb in my bedroom and I told the kids at school that I had magical powers. Dahl does such a good job in horrible adults, I tried reading my 5 yr old George’s Marvellous Medicine and he was too scared of Grandma to get past page 4!

    6. As a kid for me it was Wee Willie Winkie – no idea why but I was seriously scared he was going to get me.

      One-eyed Jake was scary in the Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis though since I now have pet rats it’s a gross mis-representation of these wonderful creatures.

      I guess I’ll have to go with the White Witch in Narnia – especially when re-reading the series recently and how she evolved.

    7. I don’t seem to read much with villains in. Artemis Fowl counts I hope. I’ve only read #1 so I don’t know how he turns out!

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