6 – Tywin Lannister (A Game of Thrones – A Storm of Swords)
George R.R Martin knows how to write morally reprehensible characters. He has a whole host of them in his A song of Ice and Fire series. In fact, the only truly decent character in the whole series, Ned Stark, dies in the very first book (I am still waiting for revenge and I am afraid it will never come).
Out of the many bastards in Martin’s world it is Tywin Lannister who doesn’t sit well with me the most. He is just as diabolical as Petyr Baelish, just as blood thirsty as Gregor Clegane and as detestable as Joffery but what makes him stand out is that I believe he could exist in real life. It doesn’t take a leap of faith or you don’t have to have a wild imagination for Tywin to become believable and I find that horrifying.
Also, a great number of characters in A song of Ice and Fire are what they are because of this man. Cersei Lannister is the snake that she is because she is determined to be seen as Tywin’s rightful heir and he did nothing to discourage this. Jaime Lannister is deeply unhappy because his father pushes him to be something he doesn’t want to be. Tyroin Lannister is also deeply unhappy because his father simply didn’t love him enough. And then there was the Red Wedding…
The man is completely detestable but, remarkably, there is something statesmanlike about him. There was a Guardian article about which real life figures best resemble the characters from A Song of Ice and Fire and I think they are spot on when they liken Putin to Tywin.
5 – Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
When I was in my late teens I was obsessed with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It was one of the very first films which inspired me to read the original book. I find the story completely fascinating and I remember not being able to shake the feeling that not only could this happen in real life, but it probably HAS happened.
Cuckoo’s Nest also had one of the first villains which I had nightmares about. The fear I had for Nurse Ratched was so strong that to this day I have a dislike for nurses , or people in nurses costumes. Nurses just make me feel uncomfortable… my mum is a nurse for crying out loud!
Also, unlike many villains on this list there are no redeeming features to this woman – I can’t a single feature. I find her to be pure evil. She doesn’t care about her patience well-being to the point that she is willing to have them get worse to retain her power over the patience and the institution as a whole.
With the above said, Louise Fletcher deserves all the credit in the world for crafting this character – the fact that she can make me feel such extreme emotions is a testament to her performance.
The older I get the more I appreciate the genius of this film and Ken Kesey’s book – it is really about what how society views the mentally ill and it isn’t pretty.
To be continued…