What better topic for me to jump into Goodreads’ Top 5 Wednesdays? I’ve always been a vindictive reader, taking my character loyalties and vendettas very seriously (if you’re read my novel Blue Karma, you might conclude that I’m a rather vindictive author as well; not shy about doling out punishments)! It was hard to select five, but here’s a few that persist in my literary memory, in no particular order:
Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Hem hem! In some ways the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts makes a better villain than Voldemort, because we’ve all known revolting bureaucrats just like her. Under the political scheming, brainwashing campaigns, and artificial sweetness—which are bad enough—she proves willing to harm the children under her care. Every time I read the book, I hope she’ll choke on one of her fussy china cups of tainted tea.
Nathan Price, The Poisonwood Bible
This heartless fire-and-brimstone preacher thinks he can bend another culture to his will. Determine to convert a Congo village, he risks his children’s lives in a period of civil unrest rather than abandon his self-imposed religious mission. Local people refuse his attempts at river baptism for fear of crocodiles; if only one of the grinning reptiles had gotten hold of Nathan instead!
Bertha Dorset, The House of Mirth
This vicious socialite should’ve fallen off her yacht on that fateful European cruise, before her slanderous accusations caused heroine Lily Bart’s tragic downward spiral. Anyone who thinks mean girls are a contemporary phenomenon has never read the “novel of manners” genre.
Overseer Mardsen, Lyddie
I read this YA historical novel about the Lowell Mills many years ago, and hated this character so much I still remember him acutely enough to include him on this list. A lecherous man who sexually abuses the young girls in his factory deserves way worse than a lungful of water.
Half the cast of the A Song of Ice and Fire series
Melisandre…Ramsay Bolton…Cersei and Joffrey Lannister…it would be quicker to list the characters in this series I wouldn’t want to drown. All are complex and engaging, to be sure, but horrible people. Thankfully author Martin has proved perversely creative in his character demises; I look forward to seeing these wretches get their comeuppance, if he ever finishes the next book!