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When Bad is Good: Wicked Women in Books We Just Love to Hate

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These days there are tons of awesome female characters on TV. Young, old, smart, naïve, good and evil. And while it’s always fun to root for the good characters (they save the day and they give us happy endings), let’s face it: sometimes the villains are WAY more interesting. Which is why certain wicked women make it impossible to tear our eyes away from the screen. These characters are complicated, cruel and they almost never make the right choices in life. Sure, they usually get what they deserve in the end, but it’s certainly a wild ride along the way!

Here are our top five favorite wicked women on TV — and one from a book! — who make being evil look oh so very tempting:

Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones

Cersei (Lena Headey) is so deliciously evil at times that it almost makes you want to root for her. Almost. With those expressive eyebrows and her willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve her agenda, she is the ultimate wicked woman on TV these days. After all, it takes some major wickedness to carry on a lifetime affair with your twin brother, repeatedly try to murder your other brother, support your sadistic son no matter what sick deeds he commits, and torch an entire assembly for power and revenge. Cersei is the queen of manipulation, and we all know that she’s headed for a truly tragic end. But in the meantime, we’ll just bask in her wickedness and wait to see what mayhem she causes next.

The Evil Queen (Regina Mills), Once Upon A Time

Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) character development has been a real roller coaster over the past six seasons. She started out as truly evil, though these days she’s mostly changed her tune. We think. Who can tell? It’s certainly hard to come back from enslaving an entire realm, casting a spell to give everyone in it a false reality, and raising the grandson of your enemies under false pretenses. Oh, also murdering tons of people by ripping their hearts from their chests. Regina might be regretting her choices now, but she started out as unrepentantly evil, a true villain to the show’s many heroes. Maybe it’s wrong to say that we miss Regina’s wickedness, but the Evil Queen was certainly entertaining to watch.

Petra Solano, Jane the Virgin

We love to hate Petra (Yael Grobglas). And sometimes we genuinely love her. But then we hate her again. Or is it love? Jane the Virgin is a telenovela, after all, and Petra’s character is always right smack in the center of the drama. From evil twins to faked deaths to manipulative pregnancies to murder plots, Petra’s wickedness is not for the faint of heart. In her defense, she always seems to want to do the right thing. She just hardly ever does. Jane is currently in its third season, and we can’t wait to see what hijinks Petra – or her evil twin Anezka (no, we weren’t kidding about that) – get into this year.

“Vee” Parker, Orange is the New Black

As soon as Vee (Lorraine Toussaint) showed up in the second season of OITNB we knew she was going to be trouble. And sure enough, she was soon terrorizing the prison, manipulating everyone, murdering everyone else, and generally being evil. Vee was one wicked woman from the start and she never even tried to change her ways. She most definitely got her just rewards in the end, but it was definitely exciting (and oh so evil) while it lasted.

Gemma Teller, Sons of Anarchy

It’s been two years since the finale of Sons of Anarchy and we’re still obsessed with the queen of the biker chicks, Gemma (Liz Sagal). While some of the women on this list have alternated between wicked and not-quite-so-wicked-at-times, Gemma was on a slow and steady decline that ultimately led to her downfall. Which meant getting killed by her own son. But that was only after she manipulated him repeatedly and murdered half the town to get her way – including offing her daughter-in-law with a fork. A FORK. Gemma will forever go down in history as one of the wickedest TV women of all time.

Book Pick:

Catherine, The Queen of Hearts, Heartless, Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends, November 8, 2016)

51mk5pk7WbL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Wicked women often become wicked for a reason, which is the whole premise behind Meyer’s latest young adult novel. Before the Queen of Hearts started terrorizing Wonderland, Catherine was just a girl with a dream to become a baker and find love. But with ambitious parents and a King looking for a bride, Cath’s future might not be her own to decide. Things only become more complicated when she falls for the mysterious court joker, Jest. Cath might not be evil yet in this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, but the story does lay the groundwork for how an innocent and sweet girl with dreams can become one of the wickedest book characters of all time.





Main image credits: FX/ABC/HBO

Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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