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There’s a new topic every Wednesday, and you then list your Top 5 books related to the particular topic.
I’m late again with this topic (I work late on a Wednesday so I usually don’t have enough time to write a post – should really plan ahead) but I really didn’t want to miss out on discussing redemption arcs.
I love redemption arcs. I love a well-written villain but I love it even more if they have a redemption arc. There is a reason why I love Marvel’s Loki so much (and not just because of Tom Hiddleston’s amazing performance) – he is a complete asshole (heh, I originally typed that as sasshole which is, hello, hella accurate!) and definitely not to be trusted.
And yet… I root for him. There is nothing I want more than for Thor and Loki to sort out their differences. I want him redeemed but also to retain the characteristics that make him who he is. I don’t excuse his actions but I can understand why he acts the way he does (Odin is the real villain of the piece IMHO – but that is a topic for another day).
Anyway, I didn’t start this topic to totally bore you all with my love for Loki! Here are my selections for villains who get kick ass redemption arcs!
1. Yuri Kirov – Warchild series by Karin Lowachee
Yuri Kirov first appeared as a pirate assassin in ‘Burndive’ and, as the character responsible for a certain character’s injury, is considered a pretty reprehensible and shady character. However, in Karin Lowachee’s capable hands, you begin to see Yuri as so much more than that.
His history is traumatic – he is every bit as much a victim as Jos was in the first book of the series. He also develops something of a conscience and it is believable and feels hard-earned.
2. Andrew Minyard – All For the Game series by Nora Sakavic
Andrew Minyard is a bit of an enigma, since to all intents and purposes he very much appears as a villain or, at the very least, an antagonist or foil for the main character Neil Josten. Yet, it is also pretty clear early on that he could potentially be something a lot more.
Not knowing much about the book going in, you could be forgiven for thinking that Kevin was the primary love interest (and in other books he probably would be). However, by the second book it is as clear as day that Andrew is going to fill that spot. As you learn more about him, the more sympathetic he is and the more you root for him and Neil to get over themselves and just get with the program already!!
3. Magnus Damora – Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes
Magnus is a character who initially is painted as very much a villain, albeit rather a sympathetic one. He even goes as far as to kill a certain character’s love interest in the first book! Not to mention the fact that he is lusting after his own sister (Jaime Lannister – eat your heart out!)
However, there is more to Magnus than meets the eye. By the time the second book rolled round, I was shipping him with the very character who had more reason to hate him than anyone. He truly didn’t stand much of a chance with that father of his. Magnus is now my favourite character from the series and I will defend him to the bitter end (not that I have to because, hey, redemption arc!)
4. Cardan Greenbriar – The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black
Ah Cardan, you magnificent bastard. Cardan is a tyrant and bully for much of ‘The Cruel Prince’. I couldn’t stand him (at first). However, as more of his arc develops, you start to see he isn’t entirely a monster. He is still far from a ‘good’ person, but there are still some small glimmers of something more.
I think one of the reasons I don’t hate Cardan is that he is a good match for Jude. Jude is… fierce and merciless. She is clever and cunning and oh so determined. I love her so and she deserves someone as fierce as she is. Cardan fits the bill (he is still an asshole though – though I love him too).
5. Jaime Lannister – A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
The original sister-lover! I honestly never thought I would end up loving Jaime of all characters! He starts off so despicable (and I still haven’t forgiven him for throwing Bran from the tower). Yet, if there is ever a character who embodies a redemption arc – it is Jaime.
When he gets his own POV in ‘Storm of Swords’ he develops very gradually from villain into anti-hero. He might even finally make that step into hero territory. The jury’s still out as we are still waiting for the last couple of books – and the television series version is a completely different kettle of fish. I fully expect him to die by the end of the series (if we ever get the books) but I think he will go out a hero.
a few honourable mentions:
(I haven’t read the full series so I couldn’t include them in my main list)
The Darkling – the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Maven Calore – Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
Holland Vosijk – Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab
Aaron Warner – Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
Khalid Ibn al-Rashid – The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh
To name just a few!