Monday, March 5, 2012

Top ten villains in children's books

Derek Landy spends his time complaining about blogs and writing the Skulduggery Pleasant series- which includes Skulduggery Pleasant, known as Scepter of the Ancients in the US, Playing With Fire, The Faceless Ones, Dark Days and Mortal Coil. He doesn’t like to brag about all the awards he’s won, such as the Irish Book of the Decade, or the Red House in the UK, or all the other awards that he humbly displays on his mantelpiece. He is also far too modest to mention things like the first book being a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a selection of Oprah’s Book Club Kids Reading List.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of "the most dastardly and devious villains in children's books," including:
Sauron (The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien)

I'm not entirely sure that The Lord of the Rings could be classed as children's literature, but The Hobbit certainly was, so Sauron gets his place. You all know him by now. Big guy. Wears armour. Turned into an eye. The Monocled One lusts after power for power's sake, and will crush anyone and anything who stands in his way. There's a whole lot of allegory going on here that impresses people who like allegories, but I just like the crushing bits.
Read about the other villains on the list.

The Lord of the Rings also made Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs' list of ten classic SF books that were originally considered failures, Lev Grossman's list of the six greatest fantasy books of all time, and appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best women dressed as men, ten of the best bows and arrows in literature, ten of the best beards in literature, ten of the best towers in literature, ten of the best volcanoes in literature, ten of the best chases in literature, and ten of the best monsters in literature. It is one of Salman Rushdie's five best fantasy novels for all ages. It is a book that made a difference to Pat Conroy.

The Hobbit is a book Niall Ferguson hopes parents will read to their kids. It appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best riddles in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue