I do have a single favourite villain. It isn’t Voldemort or Vader or other Vile Villains whose names begin with V. It may be a character many of my readers don’t know. It is Rankin Fitch. Fitch is a consultant for tobacco companies and is a featured character in The Runaway Jury by John Grisham.
Fitch is an interesting villain. Grisham often creates characters that are morally ambivalent. The Runaway Jury is full of moral ambivalence. Yes, Fitch is the villain of the piece rather any other character, but there are no clear heroes in this book. I like the way Grisham does ambivalent characters. Fitch is likeable by the end. Evil, but likeable. Other villains have few redeeming features, in fact few features at all. Vile Villains tend to be cardboard characters, straw men set up for the hero/ine to defeat. Fitch is a rounded character. I like that.
My highly unscientific fb survey featured many fictional villains from TV-land as well as book-land. Those listed included the two Vs mentioned above, Baba Yaga (Enchantment), Mr. Slope (Barchester Towers), The Hands of Blue (Firefly), Hook (Peter Pan), Gordon Gekko (Wallstreet), Gollum (LOTR), Richard Parker (Life of Pi), Grace Marks (Alias Grace), The Commander (The Handmaid’s Tale), Moriarty (Sherlock), Keyser Söze (The Usual Suspects), the bounty hunter (Firefly), and Noah (Not Wanted on the Voyage). Hmm, villains are vicious. How about you?