Thinking about the season of Halloween took me on a trip to my childhood and the scary books I read. The books that have stayed with me because of the hero of the quest, but also because of the villain the hero had to encounter. In the days before Harry Potter and Voldemort, there were still plenty of scary characters in the pages of books.
My favorite monster was, and still is, Frankenstein. Not only because he was scary to look at, but also because he was so much less a monster than the man who created him and the people who misunderstood him. A classic tale that makes us consider the monster hidden in all of us.
Another memorable rogue was Fagin from Oliver Twist. An opportunist who found a way to exploit children under the guise of caring for them. He housed and fed them while society ignored them. If they had to pick pockets and become thieves, oh well, it was all part of life in Victorian London.
While frightening to my childhood soul, these villains paled in comparison to the quintessential villain of all time: The Wicked Witch of the West in L Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Scary enough to shake the slippers off of any young girl, this character came to life in all her green-faced glory in the form of Margaret Hamilton in the classic movie. Scary to look at, to listen to, and to be in the same room with.
There’s a villain to remember!