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Voldemort Named Among Worst Literary Villains by Penguin

Posted by: Edward
January 16, 2009, 10:21 PM

Dark Lord Voldemort has made the top ten list of 'scariest villains in children's literature' according to a report in the Scotsman.  The paper details the results of a new list from the Penguin Group, which polled 600 readers, asking them to rank the literary characters they most feared.  Coming in at number six, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from the Harry Potter books by author J. K. Rowling stands along side such other great literary villains as The White Witch from C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Captain Hook from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and The Wolf from Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm.  The article also quotes Booktrust children's website editor Rebecca Wilkie as saying:

"A good villain is larger than life and does things we would never dare, but usually gets their comeuppance in the end.  Who can forget Harry Potter triumphing over Lord Voldemort and Roald Dahl's witches being turned into mice?
She goes on to note that, "For all of us, there is something comforting in the ultimate triumph of good over evil."  The full list of the Top Ten Literary Villains is as follows:
  1. White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis – 1950)
  2. Captain Hook (Peter Pan by JM Barrie – 1904)
  3. The Grand High Witch (The Witches by Roald Dahl – 1983)
  4. Wicked Stepmother (Snow White by Brothers Grimm – 1810)
  5. Cruella De Vil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith – 1956)
  6. Voldemort (Harry Potter books by JK Rowling – 1997)
  7. The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming – from the 1968 film. Not the original book)
  8. Miss Trunchbull (Matilda by Roald Dahl – 1988)
  9. The Wolf (Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm – 1810)
  10. Long John Silver (Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – 1883)

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J. P.


Posted by J. P. on January 16, 2009, 10:25 PM report to moderator

…Voldemort is four times as evil as the Grand High Witch and Captain Hook combined…that’s a bit weird o_O

Posted by Sable on January 16, 2009, 10:25 PM report to moderator

what! Voldy is below Cruella De Vil and Wicked Stepmother!!! the Wicked Stepmother!!! come on peeps!

Posted by Mills on January 16, 2009, 10:28 PM report to moderator

Hurray for Voldi!! Btw, ur right Sable, but more people named them so yeah., but he´s our favorite anyways!! youre so awesome voldemort!

Posted by Helen on January 16, 2009, 10:31 PM report to moderator

By the way, Harry Potter is the most recent book on the list. just something i noticed.

Posted by Mills on January 16, 2009, 10:40 PM report to moderator

Um…Voldemort is not scary at all! Especially when he becomes all cliched in book seven (that was cringe-worthy to read). I mean, any villain would be scary if he or she was in the room with you, but that’s not the point. Voldemort often falls prey to the villain monologue and the over-the-top antics (“You have one hoooouurrrr!”) and over the course of the series, he essentially becomes a parody of himself.

But yes, of course, he’s evil. And just by the nature of the Harry Potter story is he probably more evil than most. But, in my opinion, he is not particularly scary.

Posted by Corey on January 16, 2009, 10:42 PM report to moderator

But don’t get me wrong…I like Voldemort, too, and I think he’s interesting.

It just doesn’t help anyone’s argument when they rant about such a thing on a Harry Potter fansite.

So perhaps everyone should explain WHY they thing Voldy is so scary?

Posted by Corey on January 16, 2009, 10:45 PM report to moderator

Voldy should be at the top!!!!

Posted by Nimbus-X on January 16, 2009, 10:48 PM report to moderator

I love every single one of those books:)
The White Witch and High Witch are very scary, but in my opinion, Voldemort should be much closer to the top. He is terrifying, and just because we see the weaknesses in him doesn’t make him any less scary to all the people that he victimized

Posted by Maggie on January 16, 2009, 10:52 PM report to moderator
Professor Cassandra

Aww, Voldypoo, I knew you could do it! :D

Posted by Professor Cassandra on January 16, 2009, 11:12 PM report to moderator

Wow, Voldy’s in good company- or should I say bad company? He’s among the classic villains.

Posted by H on January 16, 2009, 11:21 PM report to moderator

So perhaps everyone should explain WHY they thing Voldy is so scary?
Err… because he is basically Hitler? Worse, Hitler with the power of reading minds and killing you with a stick?

I do think Voldemort is the worst of the lot because of his genocidal tendencies, but I do understand that older, more classical villans would rank higher than him. I suppose a closer look to the statics of the voters- the age groups, especially, would shed much light on this.
You have to admit, that when somebody says “literary villan” only a Harry Potter fan would automatically think of Voldemort. There are many others with a bigger imprint on people’s minds. Most of us weren’t terryfied by Voldemort during our childhoods. I myself had nightmares inspired by Cruella de Vil and The Wolf, and faithfully hated the White Witch since I was seven. They have just been around for longer. Let’s see the results in twenty years’ time.

Posted by Bell on January 16, 2009, 11:47 PM report to moderator
Miss Freewind

I agree with most of the villains on the list, but definitely not the order they are in. I think the reason I don’t agree with some is that when I read the book, I always put myself into the story. A villain might not seem too scary to me as an adult in the real world, but I would find them terrifying if I lived in their world.

Posted by Miss Freewind on January 17, 2009, 12:07 AM report to moderator

well said, Bell.

Posted by pottershrink on January 17, 2009, 12:10 AM report to moderator

That’s a good point, Corey. I don’t think Voldemort was supposed to be particularly scary in Book 7. He was losing his power. He was to be pitied. He was, ultimately, trying too hard to be evil. The sad thing is, I think he realized it towards the end. He wasn’t the end-all be-all of power. He was losing. I think he felt like he had nothing left but his hatred of Harry Potter, and I think he realized he was doomed before he raised his wand and said “Avada Kedavra” for the last time.

But he would rather die a failed villain than live and redeem himself. That’s what makes him scary to me.

Posted by ScottMan on January 17, 2009, 12:14 AM report to moderator
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