top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Villains You Can’t Help But Love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

It’s a little weird to be saying it’s officially November but it is. It’s been one heck of a year with a lot of ups and downs personally and for those around me. I can honestly say I’m ready for 2022 to be over but at the same time, it’s felt like a blur in some ways too.

On that less-than-cheery note, let’s dig into this week’s TTT. I had to alter it a little as I don’t particularly care for unlikable characters (hence the unlikable) and frankly can’t remember them for that reason. So here’s to those villains that are definitely villainous in the context of the story yet are people I can’t help but like in some way. Maybe they’re redeemable?

1. Draco (Harry Potter)

I’ve been reading the HP books lately so Draco is top of mind when it comes to this list. He’s definitely problematic but a part of me believes he could’ve been different were he raised in different circumstances and not indoctrinated by the beliefs of his family. And after recently watching the Cursed Child play in my hometown last month, I’m inclined to think he really is redeemable and not just simply evil.

2. Nick (Only A Monster)

Characterized as the villain because our protagonists are the “monsters”, Nick is the “hero” in those stories who hunt monsters, thus fitting this role for this list. While I know many people ship our protagonist with her fellow monster, I’m a little torn with her initial connection with Nick as well. He’s only doing what he thought his destiny was, and yet he hasn’t killed her yet so…who knows what’s to come in the sequel.

3. The Darkling (Grishaverse/Shadow & Bone)

Disclaimer: I don’t ship the Darkling with the protagonist, Alina (sorry not sorry), but I do feel he’s more complicated than simply evil either. Personally I don’t love him, but I find him fitting for this list because I know many people really like him as a character. I can appreciate his conniving ways but stay away from Alina.

4. Jacks (Caraval/Once Upon a Broken Heart)

I think Jacks is everyone’s favourite villain. He’s by far not “good”, but he’s also not terrible. I don’t love him in the Caraval trilogy, but I’m definitely digging his whatever-ship with Evangeline in OUABH. He’s a spectacularly complex character and definitely earned his spot as headlining protagonist in the companion series as we learn more about his history and the mystery surrounding him.

5. Prince Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Okay, this series may not be a book at all, but having seen SO many fan fiction stories written about him over the years, I had to round out my list with Zuko. Talk about redeemable qualities. I loved his overall arc throughout the show’s seasons (I won’t talk about the romantic relationship that’s canon because I’m STILL bitter), and I truly believe he’s one of the original villains who are lovable.

Andddd that’s it for this week. A little shorter list as I suppose I don’t love unlikable or villainous characters all that often – gotta remind everyone again I’m a lawful good if that explains anything.

If you have anybody to add to the list, let me know in the comments below!


22 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Villains You Can’t Help But Love”

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