Tag Archives: Jane Eyre

Who is your favorite Villain?

The person we love to hate; the man we’d like to see incarcerated for life; the woman who needs to be bitch-slapped right now. These are the characters we call Villains.

The true definition of a villain is: the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage.

In romance novels the villain can be:

  • the old flame who comes back into the hero’s life, flooding the heroine with doubts about his love
  • an ex-spouse, or co-worker, or a boss
  • a parent or family member who wants to break the hero and heroine up for any number of selfish reasons
  • ANYONE who has a vested interest in pulling the love interests apart.

Some of my favorite characters are what could be termed villains. They are all self -serving, narcissistic and (mostly) devoid of principles.

Here are a few of my favs:

Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice. The quintessential bitch in a ball gown.

Rochester’s first wife, Jane Eyre. Truly,  one insane biatch.

Briony Tallis, Atonement. (most people won’t agree with me on this one because Briony sets out to atone for her acts, but for much of the novel, she’s the bad guy, and therefore a villain in my mind.

Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca. The original psycho-bitch.

Iago, Othello. Master manipulator and jealous creepazoid.

The best villains I’ve ever read, though, are those characters everybody likes and would never suspect are performing acts of villainy. The good ‘ole southern girl in who’s mouth butter wouldn’t melt, while she’s backstabbing the s**t out of our heroine; the charming rake with a grin a soccer field wide who’s stripping the company’s bankroll bare. Walt Disney had this thing  for step-mothers cast in the role of villains – a true mommy complex if there ever was one. Ever see Dangerous Liaisons?  Best villains EVER.

And of course the best part of reading a book with a good villain is the scene where he/she gets their comeuppance. I live for Karmic payback scenes, absolutely live. Since I’m not quick on the witty repartee comeback ( I need to think and think…and think some more before it’s absolutely a perfect zinger), I appreciate people who are. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than seeing someone get what’s coming to them if they’ve been a rotter to our dear H/H. Remember the last scene in Dangerous Liaisons when Glenn Close gets booed and hissed at during the opera? I booed and hissed at the television right along with the pretend French people in the movie. I know…I’m a little off the beaten track, but hey: I’m happy.

So, dig into your memory banks. Who’s your favorite villain and why? Let’s discuss…

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Let’s have dinner…Who should we invite?

I saw this question on a blog recently:  what Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with and why?

This is a great question to actually ask at a dinner party. Responses can be all over the board depending on how well-read your guests are and what age. I can see people in their very early twenties wanting to break bread with Katniss Everdeen or Ron Weasley. My literary tastes are somewhat more dated.

First and foremost, I’d like to sit next to Elizabeth Bennet, because I’d like to ask her to truthfully tell me, once and for all, did she fall in love with Darcy for Darcy, or for Pemberley? I’ve always been a little suspicious she really did love Darcy and that her opinions of him could change so abruptly just because he helped Lydia and the Bennet family. What, exactly, made her see him in such a different light, from the first time they were introduced, Pemberley aside?

I’d like to sit down next to Scarlett O’Hara and smack her in the head. What was she thinking? Here she’s got the original bad boy himself, Rhett Butler, all but drooling after he and she wants nothing to do with him. She pines for Ashley Wilkes, one of the most boring characters ever penned, and doesn’t see the hunkadoodle right in front of her pixie little face. What gives, Scarlett?

Breaking bread with Atticus Finch would be memorable. I’d really like to know how he came to be such a liberal thinker in a surrounding chock full of uber-moralistic and conservative viewpoints on race, color, and gender. I’d like to discuss his upbringing and ask about his parents. Did their opinions and beliefs help form him to be the man he was, or was there some internal moral compass driving him?

Sherlock Holmes is such a fascinating character that there are no fewer than three television shows devoted to him at the present time. In an age where police work was in its infancy, his brain and desire for truth at any cost can be viewed either in a positive light, or as the most simplistic narcissism imaginable. He truly believed he was the smartest man in any room, hands down. Humility didn’t exist in his vocabulary. I would love to discuss his toilet training, to discern where his total control evolved from.

Nancy Drew was the coolest character I ever read when I was 10. I wanted to be beautiful and smart like her, drive a Corvair, and just have everyone love me. She had the neatest dad, the handsomest boyfriend and the most loyal friends – in truth, she had everything I didn’t. I’d like to ask her how it felt to be so perfect. And I’d really like to hear her tell me she was far from it!

Jane Eyre. The original drama queen. Tragedy and misery follows poor, plain Jane everywhere she goes. A lousy childhood morphs into an oppressive adolescence that ends in a pitiable adulthood. Even the guy she pines for is a pain in the neck. I’d like to talk to her and ascertain if she’s one of those people who simply thrive on the drama. A day can’t pass without some sort of emotional deluge. 

Holly Golightly seems to be the girl you’d love to sit next to at dinner. Witty, bright and light conversation would abound from her and I’m sure if you were a man she’d make you feel as if you were the only one in her sphere. She is named so perfectly – go-lightly – which is how she flits through life, moving without stopping or settling down, flitting from person to person, relationship to relationship. I’d probably ask her about her toilet training as well. That fear of not holding on to anything or anyone had to come from somewhere!

Madeline. Ah, sweet Madeline. Never having attended one, I’d really like the low down dirt on what it’s like to live in a boarding school. You hear so many unseemly things about them, such as the abuse, the sexual escapades, the bullying. Did our poor, little Parisian girl go through any of these things? Or was life really how it was written for her – all unicorns, butterflies, and sunbeams? And what about Miss Clavel? There’s a hidden understory there and I’m just dying to know it!

Truly, if I sat next to any of the folks at a dinner, I don’t think I’d touch a bit of food. They’re all fascinating in totally individual and diverse ways.

How about you? Who would you like to break bead with if you could?

 

 

 

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