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The Big Bad

spikeContinuing the fascinating conversation from yesterday, I want to talk Bad Guys. (Like Spike over there. Swoon.) And despite my choice of image for this post, not lovable bad guys, but the truly evil, the really horrible, and the must-be-vanquished. If I were to continue to cite only examples from Buffy, I’d be talking about The Master, Mayor Wilkins, and Glory. In terms of kid lit, of course Voldemort is one, too. I mean, Rowling shows us Riddle’s backstory, but not for the purpose of making Voldemort an understandable villain — not in the way that Spike is, perhaps. A victim of a beautiful mad girl (Drusilla), certainly, but a subject of ridicule before that. And ultimately, Spike wasn’t vanquished but redeemed.

So who are the irredeemable bad guys in kid lit? Who’s evil for the purpose of being evil, and not just misunderstood? And do you think it’s harder to write a truly evil bad guy, or one with a kernel of relatability?

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