For me it’s quite a bit easier to choose a favorite villain of mine than it is to choose a favorite hero of mine. I do have a difficult choice to make, however. I’m going to limit this only to books that have a completed draft to narrow it down.
I could go with the High Lord of Olthetta from the 3-Day Novel Contest book, whose opposing hero Patrick I chose as my favorite hero yesterday. I’d feel bad choosing him, though, because the High Lord himself is an unseen presence throughout the book. While Patrick and company do fight against him, there is never a direct confrontation with the High Lord himself and he never personally appears in the story, which I think disqualifies him from villain status.
Perhaps the three remaining Disciples of Bolatzo from The Legend of Griffinlar would make a better choice, but for similar reasons to the High Lord I don’t want to pick them. Alternatively I could stick with Griffinlar and choose the traitorous captain of the Rivano city guard, whose ambitions far outweigh his powers but whose cunning is continually underestimated by his allies and enemies alike. Yet it seems to me that he doesn’t have enough page time in that book to warrant being selected as the favorite.
Changing gears from my epic fantasy fare I could instead select the insidious nightmare demon that terrorizes the Wyoming city of Sage Heights in my urban fantasy Coldfire. This thing not ony gives nightmares flesh, but psychically influences other creatures to do its bidding in order mask which person has been possessed as its new host. Yet the thing that gives the battle against this creature its emotional punch is not as much the creature itself as who its unwilling host turns out to be.
In the end, I think my choice is clear. The selection for current favorite villain goes to none other than the Skull-Eyed Man from Chronicles of the Roc Rider. What I love about the Skull-Eyed Man is that he is at once both a hated villain employing sinister methods to accomplish an awful mission, and the sympathetic victim of his own tragic circumstance. He is a bad guy you can easily root against and despise, while also feeling bad for and wishing he finds peace. That’s all I’ll say to avoid spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but I think you’ll find he’s quite the enjoyable bad guy to read about.
What do you think readers? Am I right about the Skull-Eyed Man, or would Chairon or the Skull-Eyed Man’s creator have been a better choice for favorite villain? Discuss!