Everyone has a favourite villain, a character you just can’t help but love to hate. In no particular order, here are my top picks for British villains who really stole the show. (Beware, this post contains spoilers, so look out before you read on!)
1. Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter
I know what you’re thinking. When it comes to Harry Potter, surely there’s no contest for best baddie? The mere mention of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named strikes fear into the hearts of all good witches and wizards in Harry’s universe. However, for me, the standout baddie of the series makes her appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Dolores Umbridge arrives at Hogwarts as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, much to the horror of Harry and his friends. Her girly giggle and sickly sweet pink outfits barely disguise her dark side. Whether she’s punishing students by forcing them to write with their own blood, threatening to fire the beloved Hagrid or teaming up with the Slytherins to spy on Harry, Dolores really makes my skin crawl!
2. Mr Wickham – Pride and Prejudice
At first glance, Mr Wickham seems completely harmless. A handsome, charming soldier, he quickly wins the affection of our heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, and even succeeds in convincing her that the snooty Mr Darcy robbed him of his inheritance. But all is not as it seems. From his attempts to persuade vulnerable young girls to run away with him to his deceitful lies about the Darcy family, Mr Wickham is the ultimate smooth-talking, conniving villain who tries to flirt his way out of every sticky situation he finds himself in!
3. Agatha Trunchbull – Matilda
Roald Dahl was a master at creating some truly horrible villains: the vicious aunts in James and the Giant Peach, the evil farmers in Fantastic Mr Fox and the disgusting Twits all deserve honourable mentions. But the worst by far has to be Miss Trunchbull, Matilda’s evil headmistress. Tyrannical, aggressive and merciless, Miss Trunchbull loves to punish her terrified pupils by sending them to the Chokey, a tiny cupboard full of nails and shattered glass. After reading about Miss Trunchbull’s antics, from throwing kids out of windows to force-feeding them chocolate cake, I was scared to go back to school after the summer holidays!
Which baddies do you love to hate?