28 September, 2022

LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Literary Bastards

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Various Stephen King Novels

Of all the dastardly no-goodniks in literature, my favorite bastard has to be Stephen King’s Randall Flagg. He’s often the primary villain in a story, but even when he’s not, he’s set on doing some real harm in the world. He shows up when you least expect him (except that, after appearing in at least nine of King’s novels, we really should expect him by now), charming the pants off of everyone (sometimes literally), and sowing chaos and discord wherever he goes.

He has been described by King as being a “gigantic evil,” relishing evil deeds and installing evil into the minds of everyone he can reach. Even when given more of a backstory in The Dark Tower, he remains unsympathetic, as what could possibly be attributed to a need for retribution spirals into pathology. His goals range from blowing up college buildings in Hearts in Atlantis (arguably appearing as Raymond Fiegler) to ruling Delain in Eyes of the Dragon or the former United States in The Stand, to becoming God and ruling all of existence in The Dark Tower. He goes by many names, but can always be recognized by his truly evil nature.

Randall Flagg, while not always the primary antagonist, is a sly and mysterious bastard. He’s got magic and cunning and charm and wit, and sometimes even humor, combined with the apparent ability to hop through time and parallel universes at will. His role is to wreak havoc and incite terror–and he accomplishes both. Randall Flagg is the epitome of bastards.

-Elisha Dew

3 thoughts on “LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Literary Bastards

  1. You’re on an Alan Rickman tear today. I love him. He’s a fascinating actor, best when he’s playing a bad guy or an ambiguously good or bad character. And I think there were interesting villains in those mentioned, especially Jacques.

    1. Oh, no doubt he is an amazing actor. I really adore him as an actor. Snape, however, is not the hero folks have made him out to be…especially those folks who confuse the great actor with the bastard of a character. 🙂

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