Anahita Padmanabhan ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
With October in full swing, Halloween is fast approaching. While this is usually a time for scary movies, books can be terrifying too. That’s in part due to the characters that fill the pages. Here are ten of some of the scariest characters in literature.
Photo credit: Plugged In
It’s pretty safe to say that the Harry Potter series has a lot to offer in the way of scary villains. All other villains outwardly show their darkness, but not Umbridge. She shows her evil in her actions, whether it’s torturing students, censoring, or manipulating through the ranks. She sure frightens, all while covered in pink.
Well-groomed, wealthy, and a successful investment banker, Patrick is everything readers want or want to be. Except, behind all that, there’s a murdering psychopath, who pretty much has done every unthinkable action. To add to the whole mess, whether or not any of these acts are real is up to the reader to decide.
This guy loves doing things that definitely fall in the “not okay” category. He hurts, he steals, he makes a bomb, and he also starts Fight Club. His character is everything that the Narrator wants to be, and his magnetism reveals a lot about the people who surround Durden, as much as it does about Durden himself.
Humbert Humbert is simply one of the worst characters in literature. He preys on a twelve-year-old and, while he expresses regret throughout the book, he is a pedophile, and there’s no way around it. What makes his whole character even worse is the way Vladimir Nabokov manages to get readers to almost sympathize with Humbert.
Roald Dahl has created some of the scariest villains in children’s books, but Trunchbull is one of the worst. Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress of the school, a teacher, and an obvious child hater. She torments kids and teachers alike and thoroughly enjoys it. The woman has a cupboard called “The Chokey,” which emphasizes the most terrifying qualities of her character.
Jack is scary because, like another character on this list, he’s just a child. Yet, this child has a frightening penchant for violence and abuse. He controls the other kids and punishes them as he sees fit. Yes, he represents humans’ ability to turn violent, but seeing that manifest in a child is hard to reconcile.
Perhaps the worst thing about Alex is that he represents an entire culture in this dystopian society. Every time he rapes, assaults, and robs someone, readers are reminded that this is totally normal in this society, and that the teenagers of this world are doing this regularly. Alex surely does some horrible things, and he gets away with it all.
This kid has a lot of reasons for why he should be on this list. There’s the school massacre, how he convinces a girl to gouge her own skin, and his involvement in an accident where his sister loses an eye. All the while, he is a kid during this. Later, when his mother asks him why he did these terrible acts, he can’t produce an answer.
Bjurman’s character defines abuse of power. After being assigned as Lisbeth Sander’s guardian, he takes advantage of his control and forces her to do things in order to access her money. Lisbeth eventually gets her revenge, but everything that comes before that is reason enough for Nils to be on this list.
This nurse rules over the mental institution where the novel takes place with unquestioned power. She abuses her patients—who are helpless to her violence—she terrifies, humiliates, and tortures these people, and in the process, terrifies readers as well.
These were just some of the scariest characters in literature. Hopefully, this has inspired other readers to go out and read some of these books, and to think of some creepy characters of their own. Happy reading, and happy Halloween!