It is my turn on the Spooky Blog Tour hosted by Walker Books this week! I love a good villain in any tale and this specially curated list is full of the spookiest and most glorious villains as chosen by Angela Woolfe!! She has written great villains in her series, Roxy and Jones!
Angela Woolfe’s Fearsome Fairytale Villains
The Wicked Queen in Snow White She doesn’t merit a higher placing, I’m afraid, because she’s horribly vain, which makes her just a little bit silly as well as evil. Still, she’s a pretty nasty piece of work, merrily packing off her step-daughter to be axed in the woods, and then going to all the trouble of (repeatedly) disguising herself as a ludicrous variety of door-to-door saleswomen to try to finish off the job of killing Snow White herself. I’ve always enjoyed the versions where she’s so angry at the end, realising that she really WON’T ever be the fairest of them all, that she explodes in a puff of smoke. I’m sure many of us have felt a little bit like this on a bad hair day.
Rumpelstiltskin Who’s just plain old creepy, really. It’s never been clear WHY he wants to take the poor old queen’s only child, nor why he’s so obsessed with his own name, but with Halloween horrors in mind, I’m always totally creeped out by the image of him dancing around a little fire singing to himself that the queen will never guess what he’s called. He’s a bit of a niche villain, perhaps, but I really wouldn’t want to run into him on a dark night.
The Witch from Rapunzel Another creepy one, this time with an inexplicable hair obsession. In the Disney reboot, Tangled, she’s a fabulously evil glamourpuss, and I spent many hours playing her when my Tangled-obsessed daughter was little. So when I wrote Roxy and Jones, I felt so warm towards this particular witch that I made her a comedy character, when in actual fact she’s truly horrible. When I re-read my old, unsurpassed Ladybird version of Rapunzel recently I was appalled. Demanding a couple’s only child because they take some salad from her garden?! And then sealing her up inside a tower for years? It’s gruesome stuff! Hence her place at number three in my definitive list.
The Pied Piper Who isn’t, in my view, an eccentric Rentokil employee with a talent for music. He’s an absolutely horrifying character, the kind that – if you thought about it too much – would give you nightmares. Admittedly it’s wrong of the townspeople of Hamelin not to pay him for solving their rodent problem, but how is it a fair solution to simply waltz off with everyone’s kids instead, and seal them up in a mountain, never to be seen again? When I started writing my new Roxy and Jones book, I wanted the Pied Piper to make an appearance, because it’s pretty hard to find a nastier fairytale villain. I was fascinated by what might have happened to the children he stole away, and once I’d started thinking about it, I was determined to give them a happy ending (and the Pied Piper his comeuppance).
There’s no contest for the dubious honour of being the nastiest villain of all: the child-eating witch from Hansel and Gretel. I mean, she eats children. Worse: she lures them in with the creepiest, scariest building ever created in a fairytale, and then keeps them in a cage to fatten them up for the pot! I hope that by bringing her into my fairytale universe in Roxy and Jones And the Curse of the Gingerbread Witch I’ve given her a fittingly unpleasant ending of her own.