It is said that the one who reads lives a thousand lives. True enough, the characters of well-written pieces of literature come alive and, while reading about the characters, their feelings and experiences, the reader becomes one with them. In literature, women have played a great role. Starting from some of the best writers to some extremely well-written characters in literature, women have managed to leave a lasting impression. Some of the best characters in literature are women, inspiring the reader to fall in love with their every flaw and uniqueness. They have made great heroines or substantial characters, be it as fighters in the fore-field, as detectives with keen observations, or as villainesses who have done everything in their power to create the hardest obstacles. The femme fatales have make us hate them, and yet, we can’t but admit that their strength and vileness have often left us in raging awe. So, let’s look at some of the villainesses in literary works for young adults.
10. Dolores Umbridge/ Bellatrix Lestrange, from Harry Potter
When it comes to the Harry Potter series, these two women definitely tie for the position, since each is heinous and vicious in her own way. Bellatrix’s eccentricity and passion, mixed with her capacity to torture people to insanity in cold blood and her ruthlessness that allows her to kill her family members, sacrifice her children and torture children make her different from Dolores, like an evil politician, is a twisted person with a forced sweetness that no one buys, and is in power to enforce laws that are sick. Lestrange is the grand femme fatale, while we encounter Umbridges every day.
9. Adora, from Storm Siren
She is charming and is the saviour of the slave-girl named Nym with her power to summon the storm. But, her intentions are revealed later as the story and its mysteries unfold, because she wishes to use Nym as a lethal weapon. In fact, she leaves her with the options to either comply with Adora, or receive death. But, this isn’t the end to the traits of the diabolical woman. She has deep jealousy within her, which come out when Nym has a new crush, and the ordeal deepens and reveals the stalkerish streak inside her, as well as her maliciousness.
8. Cersei Lannister, from Game of Thrones
Cersei is a character capable of giving the chills to the readers. She is involved in all kinds of unscrupulous, abhorrent and inappropriate activities and traits. She is capable of crippling an entire kingdom’s economy by refusing to honour the debts, and is not hesitant to frame whom she sees as a threat. She is manipulative, and there’s nobody she would spare from using, to get what she wants. She is in an incestuous relationship with her twin, Jaime, the father of her children. She is adulterous, vile and dangerous, and can give quite the creeps.
7. Shelob, From Lord of the Rings
She may not be physically human, but, she is a brutal villainess. Independent of the influence of the story’s main antagonist, Sauron, she serves to none but herself, and is an ‘evil thing in spider form’ who can strike panic in the hearts of all the arachnophobics in the world. She traps all living things in her Lair, with webs of shadow. Everything alive is her food, including her own descendants, and she vomits darkness. She is bloated and fat because of her endless brooding on her preys. Even Suaron doesn’t mess with this unrepentantly evil spider of a woman.
6. Lady de Winter, from The Three Musketeers
With a name that is a depiction of her stone-cold heart, Milady is beautiful, clever and cunning. She is a self-made woman with many identities. She is a spy and assassin, and has not stopped at anything, from murdering her lover for revenge to making several attempts to assassin D’Artagnan. She does not hesitate to turn her back on love and has no repentance at all, as long as her purpose meets the destination. She is physically branded for being caught with stolen property, and even manages to survive a death sentence by her husband.
5. Wicked Witch, from Wonder Wizard of Oz
The Wicked Witch is wicked in every sense of the word. She is power-driven, has the stone heart to attack a young girl to get her Silver Shoes to increase her powers, and enslaves dangerous animals as her pet goons. The malevolent ruler of the West has one eye which is powerful as a telescope so she can keep a vigilance upon her entire land. She controls a host of dangerous animals such as packs of wolves, swarms of bees, fleets of flocks of crows and an army of Winkies. She also compels winged monkeys to do her will. She renders the companions of Dorothy powerful when they try to help her.
4. Marisa Coulter, from His Dark Materials
Usually called Mrs. Coulter, the lady is unlike most villains we encounter. She does not have a physical deformity or apparent ugliness to portray her inner vice. She is neither brawny, nor is she a hag. In fact, she is young, slim and beautiful, and shows that it is not physical appearance that can show the inside of a person. Beneath her sophistication and elegance is manipulative mind and is not above hurting her own child. She, however, is not the embodiment of black. With deep love for Lyra, we can say that she hovers somewhere in the grey areas, making her more realistic.
3. The White Witch, from Chronicles of Narnia
Originally named Jadis, she is a power-hungry woman who stops at nothing, and her back-story gives a view of her lack of hesitation in killing everyone in her homeland, Charn, in a fight with her sister for the throne. After reaching Narnia, she brings eternal winter to the land (and no Christmas), and terrorizes everyone into submission. But, that is not all. She is a temptress and plays to the base desires of her prey to get fruition of her plans, and has the capability and mentality to turn brother against brother. She can use children as pawns. All in all, she is dark and evil.
2. Miss Trunchbull, from Matilda
Children are the tiny innocent beings in this world who deserve all the world of happiness. That is why, when we read about any kind of torture being inflicted upon them, our blood boils. Miss Trunchbull is one such character who eccentric and remorseless. The brawny lady hates children so much that she denies having ever been a child. The headmistress of the Cruchem Hall Academy where Matilda goes inflicts torturous, physically fatal punishments upon children for the slightest of aberration from the wildly strict rules she sets in her academy, like wearing just a pigtail.
1. Queen of Hearts, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
In popular culture, she is portrayed as a vicious woman, though her portrayal in the original story by Lewis Carroll is as one of the many obstacles in Alice’s adventure. However, if we delve deep into the character, we shall notice that she is more than just a whimsical lady. This crazy personification of burning passion and fury is a woman who settles every problem with a death sentence, without giving it much thought. She plays croquet with living hedgehogs as balls, flamingos as mallets and her soldiers as hoops. She shows no sign of empathy for her people, and likes to ignite fear.
There are many more notable mentions in the list, like Lady Macbeth who drives the entire plot of Macbeth with her ambition, manipulation and desperation to not stop even at murder, Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over who represents everything that is wrong with the medical system, or Media from Euripides’ play, who kills her children or murders her brother. Their acts of darkness may be triggered by various reasons which help the reader understand them better, instead of finding a way to glorify of justify their evil trait.