November 11 – 17: “Who is your favorite over the top, megalomaniac antagonist with world-domination plans, and why?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5This week ITW Members Amy Lignor and Susan Froetschel discuss megalomaniacs and world-domination plans when we ask: “Who is your favorite over-the-top, megalomaniac antagonist with world-domination plans, and why?”


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heros companionAs the daughter of a career librarian Amy Lignor grew up loving books; ‘Patience & Fortitude’ at the NYPL were her heroes. Her Tallent & Lowery series has been a huge hit with readers – and is growing with each new puzzle she offers. Working as an editor in the publishing industry for decades, she’s now the Owner/Operator of THE WRITE COMPANION along with a new publishing company that will begin in November of 2013. A reviewer and writer for many, Amy contributes to SUSPENSE MAGAZINE, AUTHORLINK, THE FEATHERED QUILL and many others.

fearofbeautySusan Froetschel, a journalist, is the author of four mystery novels. Her most recent novel is FEAR OF BEAUTY, set in rural Afghanistan, about a woman who’s desperate to learn how to read after the death of her son. She began her career in New York City working for SELF, HOUSE BEAUTIFUL and ESQUIRE magazines before moving to Alaska, where her reporting for a daily newspaper was recognized with national and state press awards. She taught writing classes at Yale and magazine writing and literary journalism for Southern Connecticut State University for a decade. She has written for numerous publications. In 2005 she joined the staff of YaleGlobal Online, an independent, public-service magazine that covers globalization, defined as the interconnectedness of our world.

 

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8 Comments
  1. I know there’s a monopoly of historical creepy ‘rulers’ who appear in this category; but when it comes to a true megalomaniac thriving on his own ‘special’ God complex, who wanted nothing more than world domination, (his world and ours), I have to pick Lord Voldemort. When J.K. Rowling decided to create the ultimate antagonist for her ‘Harry Potter’ series, the thought that her genre was technically “YA” never came into her mind. Voldemort is the ultimate antagonist who’s a true horror show. We all got shivers when we saw the movie version of Book 6 (…Half-Blood Prince) showing Voldemort as a child: The cold, quiet voice; the eyes as dark and alive as Anthony Perkins’ were in ‘Psycho’…the child version of Voldemort was beyond creepy. He did anything and everything to come back; from murder to deceit, this was a character that had his own brand of magic. Only his ego let him down in the end. He knew that no one–surely not some silly boy–was going to be able to beat the all-powerful wizard that he’d convinced himself (and others) he was. And that ridiculous ‘God complex’ ego was his downfall.

    Voldemort reminds me very much of a boy named Adolf Hitler; Hitler had no royal genes that would cause him to think he could be lord and master, yet he demanded a blond-haired/blue-eyed world when he looked completely the opposite of his own ‘dream race.’ Voldemort wanted only pure bloods to roam the world, even though he would never be one himself. He was no lord; he was simply a half-blood who had pure evil running through his veins. Unfortunately for him, his protagonist had pure hope and courage running through his own. This is an antagonist who will always be remembered by readers – young and old.

  2. Posted on behalf of author Amy Lignor:

    I know there’s a monopoly of historical creepy ‘rulers’ who appear in this category; but when it comes to a true megalomaniac thriving on his own ‘special’ God complex, who wanted nothing more than world domination, (his world and ours), I have to pick Lord Voldemort. When J.K. Rowling decided to create the ultimate antagonist for her ‘Harry Potter’ series, the thought that her genre was technically “YA” never came into her mind. Voldemort is the ultimate antagonist who’s a true horror show. We all got shivers when we saw the movie version of Book 6 (…Half-Blood Prince) showing Voldemort as a child: The cold, quiet voice; the eyes as dark and alive as Anthony Perkins’ were in ‘Psycho’…the child version of Voldemort was beyond creepy. He did anything and everything to come back; from murder to deceit, this was a character that had his own brand of magic. Only his ego let him down in the end. He knew that no one–surely not some silly boy–was going to be able to beat the all-powerful wizard that he’d convinced himself (and others) he was. And that ridiculous ‘God complex’ ego was his downfall. Voldemort reminds me very much of a boy named Adolf Hitler; Hitler had no royal genes that would cause him to think he could be lord and master, yet he demanded a blond-haired/blue-eyed world when he looked completely the opposite of his own ‘dream race.’ Voldemort wanted only pure bloods to roam the world, even though he would never be one himself. He was no lord; he was simply a half-blood who had pure evil running through his veins. Unfortunately for him, his protagonist had pure hope and courage running through his own. This is an antagonist who will always be remembered by readers – young and old.

  3. When first asked this question, the first thought that came to mind was – Dr. Evil of Austin Powers. Anyone who dreams of world domination is over the top, megalomaniac – and ridiculous. And we can only hope such goals remain so ridiculous. World domination is a quest that must be kept a secret, or checks and balances of some sort, or just plain resistance, both internal and external will emerge. Such are the reactions to the over-ambitious among us. On the other hand, I appreciate Amy’s choice, especially the parallels to Adolph Hitler. I remember reading Robert Ludlum’s books on WWII as well as Ira Levin’s The Boys from Brazil and Robert Harris’ Fatherland – the suspense and the terror around such bizarre, ruthless motivation.

  4. I’d have to say James Bond’s most resistant foe, SPECTRE, put the super in super villain. He was the inspiration for Austin Powers’ foe Dr Evil, and was voted ‘The Most Dangerous Man On The Planet.’ But Lord Voldemort, Dr. Evil & Hitler are all in that category too!

  5. It’s hard to beat the old comic villains for pure evil intent and drive for world domination. I especially like the traditional ones that came back time and again making them a true nemesis to the hero. For me the prototype is Lex Luther – it’s amazing how he could always find some kryptonite. I also liked Doctor Doom. These guys weren’t just evil they were incredibly smart – you had to admire that. They make an interesting contrast to many of today’s villains who are often just bad in weird, gruesome, nasty ways – more interested in meeting bizarre personal needs then true world domination.

  6. Oh, yeah, the old Stavro Blofeld is the archetype of a pure evil. I remember reading On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and his plot to undermine Britain through the food chain was brilliant.

    Another James Bond favorite of mine, although now I cringe at some scenes, is Moonraker. Mr. Drax’s plot to wipe out Earth’s human population via toxins released in the atmosphere was far fetched, but I guess a product of its time. Then again, the recent Doctor Who episode Crimson Horror has pretty much the same plan, except the evil genius is an alien from prehistoric Earth.

  7. The allegorical version of Adolf Hitler in Bertolt Brecht’s play, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.
    The American gangster movie meets Richard III in Bertolt Brecht’s allegorical satire, in which Adolf Hitler’s rise to power is filtered through the story of a bunch of hoodlums attempting to take over the cauliflower trade in 1930s Chicago. Eventually they
    Replace Cicero with Austria. The final, chilling moments remind us that this is no laughing matter.

  8. Great responses and reasons why. I am especially intrigued when these villains rise to power from the most ordinary of circumstances, driven by social conditions that challenge all.

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