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Big Bad / Literature

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"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story.

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  • White Fire: Duties are split between Ted Roman, the arsonist attacking the town of Roaring Fork and the corrupt Betty Brown Kermode who's trying to hide the fact that the ski resort the novel takes place in was tainted with mercury.
  • The Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz have a big bad in each one. Four of them - the Big Bads of Scorpia, Snakehead, Scorpia Rising and Never Say Die - are members of SCORPIA, a Nebulous Evil Organization which is effectively the Big Bad of the entire series (they are also later revealed to be The Man Behind the Man for the events of Stormbreaker, and play a major role in the Prequel Russian Roulette, which also makes them culpable for most of the series' backstory).
  • The Alterien series:
    • Alterien: Once Was Lost - The Big Bad of this story turns out to be another superhuman named Theseus Spencer, who tells Oberon they are both Alteriens.
    • Alterien: Shadows of the Past - Oberon's former teammate, Ulysses River aka The Leopard. Oberon has to stop him from killing his sister.
    • Alterien: Path of Redemption - There are actually two Big Bads in this story. One of them is Helena Velazquez, who reveals a startling secret of her own. The other is Theseus Spencer again in another plot that could drive two countries to war.
    • Alterien: The Ghost Men - A team of mercenaries who are capable of passing through walls.
    • Alterien: Return of the Light - An enhanced man from Oberon's past, Ustaz Mamur. He's determined to get revenge for a botched SABER operation that left many of his people dead.
    • Alterien: The Orion Directive - Recurring terrorist group, Al-Dhi'ban.
  • American Psycho: Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street yuppie and Serial Killer.
  • Sharon Kay Penman's The Angevin Novels, being scrupulously researched Historical Fiction novels, have plenty of antagonists but not necessarily Big Bads since real life doesn't unfold according to narrative conventions, but two of them do end up having them because that's essentially how it worked out historically:
  • Animorphs: Visser Three is the Yeerk enemy the Animorphs encounter the most. However, the Big Bads of the series are The Council of Thirteen, who are in charge of him. They only appear once in a side-story, and it is ultimately the defeat of Visser Three that ends the war. And then there's Visser One (the original, before he takes her position), and Crayak...
  • The Apprentice Rogue: Averted. There is no head villain but there is still an Evil Plan.
  • Ararat by Christopher Golden: The demon Shamdon, trapped for thousands of years on Noah's ark after his body was killed. He torments and kills members of the archaeological team studying the ark for fun and ultimately seeks to leave the mountain Ararat for the wider world by possessing one of team.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr:
      • The Sirian government is the biggest threat faced by Lucky, and fought only indirectly until the final novel. The second book reveals that the events of the first book may have been encouraged by the Sirians because they are still attempting to use the asteroid pirates to encourage war within the Sol system. Sirian robots appear in the fourth and fifth books, while Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn is the last book, so Lucky is finally able to confront them directly.
      • David Starr, Space Ranger: Benson, the Martian agrarian scientist, is the one behind the poisoning scheme, and the one ordering Hennes to do his dirty work, like killing the nosy "Williams".
      • Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids: The pirate crew know that Captain Aton takes orders from a mysterious "Boss". What they don't know is that their boss is in contact with Sirians, planning for a war against Earth, and that he's Hansen, the hermit.
    • Foundation Series' "The Mule": The Mule manipulates people around him with Psychic Powers, turning entire planets to despondency and fear. While on Kalgan, Bayta and Toren manage to rescue his jester, Magnifico Giganticus, only to learn that the Mule had wanted them to do so. Twice they barely escape as the Mule's fleet brutally conquers the planet they're on. His fleet of ships conquers the entire First Foundation. In "Part Two", the protagonists head to Trantor because figuring out where the Second Foundation is will be their only chance to stop him. Bayta realizes, just in time, that Magnifico is the Mule, and that's how he's been one step ahead of them this whole time. Despite being defeated here, his efforts to conquer the Foundation leave a lasting impact on the series.

  • In the book The BFG, Fleshlumpeater and his fellow human-eating giants are the antagonists.
  • In The Balanced Sword, it appears at first that the Big Bad is Kerlamion Blackstar, the King of All Hells, who is enacting a scheme to take over the world. Later it turns out that the underling who came up with the scheme for him, called Viedraverion, is a Dragon with an Agenda and the real threat.
  • The Barbarian and the Sorceress: Barnabus, an evil sorcerer planning to sacrifice Rom in a ritual, is the villain of the story.
  • Battle Royale: The Supervisor. Mitsuko and Kazuo could count as secondary Big Bads.
  • Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh: There's a Big Bad Duumvirate between Ouyang and Zhao Chongyang, two of the four bosses of the Chinese crime syndicate known as Happy Year Co. Ltd, who are orchestrating an operation to smuggle something called "Ice" into the U.S. Ice turns out to be human organs that can be sold to wealthy ineligible recipients in America. In an interesting wrinkle, they turn out to not be responsible for the death of protagonist Victor Li's father, Li Renyan, who was actually one of the four bosses too. Whether the actual murderer, Victor's pseudo-foster brother Sun Jianshui, counts as a third Big Bad is a complicated question, as Sun is both the one who executes the plan to take down Ouyang and Zhao, which was originally Li Renyan's plan, and has reasons for the murder.
  • Liane Moriarty's novel Big Little Lies has micro-managing business-mum Renata and abusive husband Perry in a Big Bad ensemble. Over time, Renata is portrayed more sympathetically and her involvement in the plot dissipates. The role of Big Bad is fully inherited by Perry when it's revealed that not only does he hit his wife, but he cheated on her with a close friend, abused her both physically and emotionally during sex and left her a struggling single mother.
  • The Black Company cycles through several over the course of the series. The Dominator in the books of the North, Longshadow in the books of the south, then Soulcatcher and finally Kina in the Books of Glittering Stone. All save the one with spoiler tags are eventually dispatched by the Company, often at great cost.
  • The Bone Season has Nashira Sargas. A nearly immortal Rephaim, she captures rare magic users known as voyants and kills them, forcing them to become her "fallen angels" which protect her eternally and from which she draws all her powers.
  • The Braided Path has the Weavers, who are led initially by Weave-lord Vyrrch and later by Weave-lord Kakre. However, the Weavers themselves are only to tools of the ultimate antagonist, the evil god Aricarat, who controls them through their enchanted masks.
  • Brimstone Angels has Bryseis Kakistos, heroine Farideh's ancestor who manipulates her descendants lives as part of a decades-spanning plot to avenge herself on Asmodeus, regardless of who else gets hurt in the process.
  • Brothers of the Snake has an unnamed Dark Eldar Archon who orchestrates several incidents in order to bring ruin to the Reef Worlds.
  • A Brother's Price has Kij Porter, and her whole family, who are behind literally every problem the protagonists encounter, even those that seem totally unconnected, like the problem of getting everyone in the family to agree to marry Jerin. Oh, and they also killed the princesses' father.
  • Dan Brown is fond of making it seem like a huge, shadowy conspiracy is going on, when actually it's all plotted by a Big Bad — always a character who is already relevant to the plot before The Reveal — some underlings, pawns and a lot of theatricality.
  • Bubble World has Todd Piloski, CEO of Bubble World. He emotionally manipulates both Freesia and her mom, and is only in it for the money. When Bubble World is retooled, he retains control of a military base to develop war games, which is what he wanted to do in the first place.

  • The Case Files Of Ibrahim Helsing:
    • Mason Frogg and his bride in The Vampyre Apostles
    • Pater Zutter, Frater Felix and Soror Kaitlyn in The Miskatonic Affair
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • Queen Jadis the White Witch in The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
    • The Tisroc of Calormen in The Horse and His Boy, though his son and Dragon Rabadash gets more pagetime.
    • Miraz in Prince Caspian, until his Co-Dragons Glozelle and Sospesian decide to pull a Starscream on him, murdering him during his duel with Peter and becoming a Big Bad Duumvirate for the final battle.
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has no one Big Bad, though there are individual villains encountered at various stops along the titular voyage.
    • The Lady of the Green Kirtle in The Silver Chair.
    • Tash, the Calormene God of Evil and overall biggest bad of the setting in The Last Battle.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain has several Big Bads. Really, there is a single Big Bad, Arawn Death-Lord, and a bunch of others trying to usurp his position.
    • The Book of Three has Arawn Death-Lord, ruler of the land of Annuvin, and the ultimate antagonist that the Companions have to defeat. Queen Achren, former ruler of Prydain until Arawn took over, could also be considered to be in a Big Bad Ensemble with Arawn in this book.
    • The Black Cauldron has a Big Bad Ensemble between Arawn and King Morgant, and both want the titular Black Cauldron (Arawn had it in The Book of Three, only to lose it before this book began).
    • The Castle of Llyr has Queen Achren returning, now trying to make a comeback with Magg as her Dragon.
    • Taran Wanderer has a Big Bad Ensemble between Morda, an evil sorcerer and enemy of the Fair Folk, and Dorath, the Ax-Crazy leader of a group that wants whatever's at Lake Llunet, though they don't serve as Big Bad at the same time.
    • The High King has Arawn return as the Big Bad with King Pryderi as a Big Bad Wannabe. Dorath also returns to make a Big Bad Ensemble in this book.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has Lord Foul the Despiser as the main antagonist of the entire series. His role is somewhat different in each arc:
    • In the First Chronicles, Foul is initially The Man Behind the Man to Drool Rockworm. After arranging Drool's defeat, Foul comes out of the shadows as an archetypal Evil Overlord for the remainder of the arc.
    • In the Second Chronicles, Foul takes a more subtle approach, using the power of the Sunbane to turn the Land into a Death World and then setting up the Clave to rule it as his proxies. Ordinary people (and most initiates of the Clave) are unaware of his involvement in these events.
    • In the Last Chronicles, Foul forms a Big Bad Duumvirate with Kastenessen, between them setting in motion a number of events intended to culminate in the utter destruction of the Land. Because Foul is both the smarter and the more completely evil of the pair, he remains the greater threat, even if Kastenessen's actions tend to be a bit more... obvious.
  • The Chaos Gods series has Rising Chaos, a long-imprisoned god which is struggling to break free so it can destroy the Four Realms and eradicate all life
  • CHERUB Series:
  • Chung Kuo: Howard DeVore.
  • Circleverse: Some of the books have No Antagonist, but the ones that do...
    • Tris's Book: Queen Pauha and her mage brother Enahar, a nasty pair of type 1 Pirates who takes advantage of the earthquake damage from the first book to attack Winding Circle and its treasures, enslaving Aymery and nearly ensnaring the Circle kids as their slaves too. They cause a lot of death and destruction as well as a loss of innocence when Tris in particular gets blood on her hands to drive them away.
    • Street Magic: Lady Zenadia. She "adopts" a street gang to use as her personal toy because her retirement's a bit dull. She orchestrates their battles with other gangs and tries to abduct Evvy because she thinks a stone mage would be a good asset.
    • The Will of the Empress: Empress Berenene. Unlike other antagonists, as a ruler she has many strong qualities. However, she financially squeezes Ambros in an effort to make Sandry return so Berenene can have her married off to one of the suitors she's chosen, so she can have access to the Landreg wealth. She starts this with a charm offensive on Sandry and her friends, but the claws come out when Sandry decides to leave after one kidnapping too many.
    • Battle Magic: Emperor Weishu. He's a ruthless tyrant who has been conquering his neighbors already in a bid to seize Gyongxe so he can claim to own the land of the gods. Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy all leave with PTSD thanks to his atrocities.
  • Short story "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" features The Vitalizer, a semi-telekinetic powerhouse hell-bent on retrieving an unseen superweapon known as the Bull.
  • Codex Alera plays with this one. In the first book we're introduced to High Lord Aquitainus Attis and his wife Invidia, who are the masterminds of several schemes against the Realm, aren't defeated or even directly confronted by the heroes, and keep up their role as main villains in the subsequent books. The catch — neither is the Big Bad. That would be the Vord Queen, a monster The Hero wakes up during a Side Quest early on, and is gradually revealed to be not the mindless creature she initially appeared, but an incredibly powerful and cunning adversary far more dangerous than either Aquitaine could ever hope to be. Meanwhile, Lord Aquitainus got Character Development moving him more towards Anti-Villain territory, culminating in Redemption Equals Death mixed with Alas, Poor Villain, while Invidia was pressed into service by the Vord Queen as The Dragon and died in that role.
  • The Companions Quartet has Kullervo, a shapeshifter that wants to wipe out humanity.
  • In The Color Out of Time by Michael Shea, the Big Bad is what the protagonists dub the "Enemy," the eponymous color from Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space," specifically the fragment/offspring left behind at the climax of that short story. It gruesomely feeds on the life and the negative emotions of the victims that visit the reservoir it dwells within to gain enough energy to leave the planet, and for its sadistic amusement.

  • The Death Gate Cycle initially appears to have Lord Xar as Big Bad, though he is played with a good deal of sympathy and the main character is his Dragon, at first. However, further books complicate matters by creating a Big Bad Ensemble with Kleitus and Samah in the mix as well, and then the Serpents show up about halfway through and blow everyone else out of the water in terns of sheer power and evil.
  • The dubheasa in Alma Katsu's The Deep. She gives suicide Lillian Notting another chance at life by placing her soul in the body of another suicide, the protagonist Annie Hebley, so she can reclaim the man she's obssessively in love with, Mark Fletcher, at the price of her daughter Ondine.
  • The dactyl demon Bestesbulzibar in RA Salvatore's Demon Wars Saga. Rather unusually, he's defeated in his physical body at the climax of the first book; he spends most of the saga as a disembodied spirit influencing other villains, who believe they're the Big Bad.
  • Devils & Thieves has Darek is the cause of all the bad events in the story, from Michael Medici's death in the backstory to the disappearance of several characters in the main story. The ending solution requires taking him down.
  • Charles Dickens frequently used big, clear villains in his morality plays cleverly disguised as novels.
    • David Copperfield: Uriah Heep
    • A Tale of Two Cities: Madame DeFarge
      • The Marquis de Saint-Evremonde might also count, for the one chapter he's alive, anyway. Also an example of Evil Versus Evil; Madame DeFarge is one of the leaders of the revolutionaries who are going around bumping off nobles like the Marquis.
  • Lazarus in Dis Acedia, a malevolent god abducting people to the titular maze so as to play with them.
  • The Divergent series:
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe has managed a few:
    • The New Adventures: The Timewyrm tetralogy has the Timewyrm. The Alternate Universe Cycle has the Meddling Monk. The Psi Powers arc has the Brotherhood, ultimately led by the Grandmaster.
    • Eighth Doctor Adventures: The Faction Paradox storyline has Grandfather Paradox, although he's more of a Greater-Scope Villain. The Compassion arc has Romana of all people, seeking to capture Compassion in order to improve the Time Lords' TARDIS technology. The Sabbath arc has the Council of Eight, especially Octan.
    • Crossovers: The New Adventure "Blood Harvest" sets up Lord Yarven as the Big Bad of the first Missing Adventure "Goth Opera". The Missing Adventure "The Scales of Injustice" and the Past Doctor Adventure "Business Unusual" have Martin Townsend (AKA "the pale man") as the Big Bad.
  • The Dora Wilk Series has Raphael in the first three books. Then he's one-upped by Greater-Scope Villain Ibrahim, who's then overshadowed by yet another Greater-Scope Villain, Iris, who turns out to be behind this all.
  • Wraith from Dragoncharm wants to keep Charm from disappearing from the world. The Charm appears to be dying, which is scaring most of the Charmed dragons along with making them sick, but in truth it isn't dying, only going into a dormant state which it will wake up from in a few aeons - so long as the Seed of Charm gets planted. Wraith knows all this, but wants to keep the Seed and use its power for himself. To do this he orders the capture of at least one community of Natural dragons plus a group of pacifist Charmed dragons who want to stop him, sends selected acolytes of his to trigger deadly magical booby-traps, and murders Halcyon, the leader of the Charmed.
  • In Dragonlance, the dark goddess Takhisis is usually the Big Bad, though at various points of the timeline she's been overshadowed by Chaos, the dragon overlord Malystryx, and once nearly by Raistlin.
  • In the Dread Empire series, the Princes Thaumaturge initially seem to be a Big Bad Ensemble - until they're killed off, that is. The Pracchia then emerges as the collective chessmasters behind the titular empire's civil war and subsequent wars of expansion and their leader is eventually revealed to be the Star Rider, who has been pulling everyone's strings for time immemorial and is firmly established as the overarching Big Bad of the entire saga.
  • Most individual books in The Dresden Files have one of these.
    • Storm Front: Victor Sells is "The Shadowman" behind the murders Harry is investigating.
    • Fool Moon: Agent Denton is a Knight Templar who is hunting down criminals that have escaped justice.
    • Grave Peril: The Nightmare, the ghost of sorcerer Leonid Kravos, antagonizes Harry and the cops who killed him on behalf of Margravine Bianca St. Claire, whose plans to get revenge on Dresden initiates a magical war between the White Council wizards and the Red Court vampires.
    • Summer Knight: Lady Aurora is the one behind the murder of the Summer Knight, in an effort to give his power to Winter to disrupt the balance between the Winter and Summer Fae Courts.
    • Death Masks: Nicodemus Archleone wants to use the Shroud Of Turin in order to spread a plague across the entire world.
    • Blood Rites: Lord Raith is the driving force of the plot, being the one behind the murder of Arturo's workers as well as planning on killing Harry and Thomas to regain his lost glory and power.
    • Dead Beat: Cowl is the leader of the three heirs of Kemmler, including Grevane and Corpsetaker, and plans to consume the souls of thousands in order to make himself all powerful.
    • Proven Guilty: The Scarecrow is the eldest of the fetch wraiths being unleashed across the city. It's not quite clear who sent those wraiths, but the running theory is either Maeve or Queen Mab.
    • White Night: Vittorio Malvora is The Heavy for Cowl, the two serving as the architects behind a plot to overthrow the Wraith family ruling the White Court.
    • Small Favor: Nicodemus Archleone returns here and plans on kidnapping the Archive to turn her into a Denarian.
    • Turn Coat: "Shagnasty" is a skinwalker brought in by the Black Council to cover for their spy on the White Council, Samuel Peabody.
    • Changes: Kukulcan, the Red King plots to cause the death of the entire Dresden family line by murdering Dresden's daughter. That being said, his daughter Duchess Ariana Ortega is The Heavy who set most of the plot off by kidnapping Dresden's daughter in the first place.
    • Ghost Story: Corpsetaker aka The Grey Ghost is the driving force of the novel, and intends to bring herself back to life through any means necessary including torture, Mind Rape, and murder.
    • Cold Days: Maeve, who intends on unleashing the various evils and monsters contained in the magical prison Demonreach upon the world. Though ultimately she was being influenced by the unseen Greater-Scope Villain, Nemesis.
    • Skin Game: Nicodemus Archleone returns again and plans on stealing various items from Hades' vault situated in the underworld.
    • Peace Talks: Ethniu the Last Titan, who is revealed to be The Man Behind the Man to the Fomor, and who arranges the titular Peace Conference only as an excuse to give a Join or Die speech to all the supernatural nations before declaring war on the whole world.
    • Battle Ground: Continuing from the previous book, Ethniu continues to serve as the main antagonist, spearheading the Fomor's invasion of Chicago. Near the end of the book, however, it's discovered that the true mastermind was actually Justine, possessed by Nemesis aka He Who Walks Beside, who manipulated Ethniu's invasion as part of a larger plan.
    • That said, the driving force behind everything is the Black Council, which is believed to have been involved in setting up many of these Big Bads. Cowl is known to be a member. Nicodemus gets an honorable mention for being a non-Black Council recurring Big Bad in his own right. Cold Days further complicates matters by introducing Nemesis, a form of quasi-intelligent magical infection which takes people over and causes them to act on behalf of the Outsiders and is implied to be behind most of the various bad happenings in the series. Nemesis and its tools may or may not be the same thing as the Black Council.
  • With a blatant disregard for history, Alexandre Dumas makes Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu the Big Bad of The Three Musketeers. And he does it again with Catherine de' Medici in Queen Margot!
  • The Dune universe has several big bads over the series.
    • The original Dune, and the Prelude to Dune prequels, have the infamous House Harkonnen
    • Dune Messiah introduces the Tleilaxu, with the Bene Gesserit and Spacing Guild as allies.
    • Children of Dune sets up the remnants of House Corrino to be this, but the ultimate threat is really a possessed Alia.
    • God-Emperor of Dune has Ix as the greatest threat to Leto II's Golden Path. They send both Malky and Hwi Noree to probe him for weaknesses, both tailored to seduce him and break his discipline. It is also Ix that posed the threat of the AI Hunter-Seekers of Leto's vision. Though Ix doesn't have a role in his death, his death actually furthers his plan.
    • Heretics of Dune introduces the Honored Matres, which then serve as the Big Bad.
    • Chapterhouse: Dune continues the Honored Matre threat, now personified by Dama the 'Spider Queen', however it turns out the Honored Matres are themselves fleeing a greater threat, which may or may not be the mysterious Daniel and Marty.

  • The Emberverse books have Norman Arminger in the original trilogy, and the Prophet (leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant) in the later books.
  • Empire from the Ashes:
    • Book 1, Mutineers' Moon, has Anu, the leader of the mutiny, who is a depraved power-hungry lunatic who has been manipulating Earth's society for millennia.
    • Book 2, The Armageddon Inheritance, reveals that the setting's Big Bad as a whole is the Achuultani Master Computer, which enslaved the species and has been sending out the genocidal waves to perpetuate a state of emergency which allows it to keep itself in power due to a loophole in its programming.
    • Book 3, Heirs of Empire, has Lawrence Jefferson, aka "Mister X", who has been working for decades on a plot to usurp the throne of the Fifth Imperium.
  • The Essalieyan Saga (The Sacred Hunt duology, The Sun Sword series and the House War series) has Allasakar, Lord of the Hells, whose return to the mortal world and plans to absorb it into his domain drives the overarching Myth Arc of the connected series.
  • The Exorcist: Pazuzu, the demon possessing Regan McNeil in order to triumph over Father Lankester Merrin by resisting exorcism and destroying the girl before his eyes.

  • Fablehaven has the Sphinx, who posed as a friend of the heroes until his real position as the leader of the Society of the Evening Star was revealed. Followed, briefly, by the demons of Zzyzx, and Graulas and Nagi Luna.
  • In the first Faeries of Dreamdark book, it's the Blackbringer. The next book features Dusk, an old friend of Magpie's and to a lesser extent, Ethiag. Ethiag is the general (and mind-controller... person) of a huge horde of other demons, but he's still only second in command.
  • Firebird Trilogy:
    • Firebird: Phoena Angelo is the sponsor of Dr. Cleary's biological weapons research and thus the driving force behind the invasion of Veroh, which resulted in Veroh being rendered open-air uninhabitable, the disappearance of several merchant ships, the Netaian resistence against the Federacy, and the need for Brennen Caldwell and Firebird Angelo to infiltrate and partially destroy Hunter Heights, which got them both nearly killed (by Phoena) and Brennen court-marshalled and dismissed.
    • Fusion Fire: Eshdeth Shirak, as the leader of the Shuhr, is the mastermind behind the Sunton massacre (utter destruction of a residential town), the attack on the Sentinel College, the deaths of the two child princesses of Netaia, Phoena's departure to the Shuhr and her imprisonment by them, Brennen's captivity after he tries to rescue Pheona on the Federacy's orders, and the plan to kill Firebird to break Brennen.
    • Crown of Fire: Modabah Shirak, Eshdeth's son, takes over where his father left off. He orchestrates a number of plans within plans in an attempt to re-capture Brennen, including taking over the Netaian government from the shadows and several attempts on Firebird's life.
    • Wind and Shadow: This book features two Big Bads, one for each thread of the story.
      • The Shadow possessing Tamím Bar'Baror kidnaps Kiel Caldwell, thinking him the Boh-Dabarnote , in an attempt to corrupt him and causes or encourages a number of destructive events, including the destruction of the planet Three Zed.
      • Jahana is the leader of the neo-Shuhr group and is a cruel but powerful woman. She is responsible for a number of deaths and disappearances and intends to take over the galaxy through a combination of reviving ancient technology, bringing the Shuhr policies of unlimited use of telepathy back into play, and posing Kinnor Caldwell as Boh-Dabar and using him as her spokesman.
    • Daystar: Piper Gambrel, along with the Shadow possessing him (a different Shadow than the above), is determined to wipe out the Sentinels. To this end, he manufacture fear and persecution of the Sentinels, forcing them all to take refuge on their sanctuary world. Once he has them thus isolated, he comes up with a way to introduce a virus which will kill them and only them, plus he has several back-up plans in place in case that fails.
  • Judge Craven in Flawed is the cause of all of Celestine's problems, from her multiple undeserved brandings, to getting rid of anyone that might support her in her plight.
  • In Flawed Dogs, Cassius is single-handedly responsible for getting Sam disowned and kicked out of the house, starting the conflict.
  • The Flying Boy has Dr. Paigne, a mad scientist who wants to take over the world.
  • Frankenstein: The creature.

  • "'Gameknight999'': Herobrine is this for the second and third series, controlling huge armies of monsters to destroy the Minecraft world and threaten the safety of the real world. He also turns out to have been behind the villains of the first book.
  • The Gauntlet (2017): The game is ruled over by The Architect, who decides what challenges the players face, and keeps those who fail trapped in the game permanently.
  • Ghost Roads: Bobby Cross is an evil immortal who prolongs his life by killing people with his car and then consuming their ghosts. He also stands as heroine Rose Marshall's Arch-Enemy and main opponent due to his relentless pursuit of her as the victim that got away.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, Ture turns out to be behind most the threats and kidnappings that's been plaguing Nikita in recent days.
  • Goosebumps:
    • Welcome To Dead House:: Compton Dawes.
    • Stay Out Of The Basement: Dr. Brewer, though not intentionally.
    • Monster Blood: Sarabeth, the Blood's original creator.
    • Night of the Living Dummy: Mr. Wally Wood the Dummy, followed by Slappy the Dummy, main evil of the Goosebumps series.
    • The Haunted Mask: The Shopkeeper, who created the masks and has a bad habit of letting them fall into the hands of children.
    • Be Careful What You Wish For: Clarissa.
    • Welcome To Camp Nightmare: Uncle Al.
    • Piano Lessons Can Be Murder: Mr. Toggle.
    • Return Of The Mummy: Princess Nila.
    • The Beast From The East: Fleg, the leader of the group of Beasts encountered by Ginger and her brothers.
    • Calling All Creeps: The Creep Commmander, eventually known as Ricky Beamer.
    • The Headless Ghost: The Sea Captain, whose actions before the story were what created the Headless Ghost and turned Hill House into a place of tragedy.
    • Headless Halloween: Brandon Plush. His sadistic pranks and morbid sense of humor put everyone in danger, and he winds up being put through hell to undo them.
  • Guardians of Ga'Hoole has first Kludd, and then later, Nyra. The first book had Skench and Spoorn, but they don't stick around.
  • Gulliver's Travels: The people of Blefuscu who are at war with the good Lilliputians.
  • The Guns of the South: Andries Rhoodie, the head of the AWB, who hope to prolong slavery and racism by giving AK-47's to the Confederacy only to turn on them and try to kill Robert E. Lee.


  • I Know What You Did Last Summer: Collingsworth Wilson targets four young people who caused the death of his little brother David in a hit-and-run accident.
  • InCryptid series:
  • In Death series: In each book, the murderer Eve is trying to get would be considered the villain. However, for the entire series, Max Ricker qualifies as the Big Bad. Why? Well, he's a crime boss who controls a vast criminal empire. He had dealings with the terrorist organization Cassandra from Loyalty in Death. He appears again in Promises in Death, despite being in prison. Eve's father Richard Troy and Roarke's father Patrick Roarke actually worked for Max Ricker, although they were not particularly high up in the ranks of his organization. If all this does not make Max Ricker the overall Big Bad, then what does?
  • Incubus by Ann Arensberg has the Dry Falls entity, a being (or beings) that, for reasons the beleagured residents of the rural town of Dry Falls cannot comprehend, are raping women while they are in a state of sleep paralysis. It also warps the very weather of the region, creating an unending Heat Wave.
  • Inheritance Cycle: King Galbatorix is a former Dragon Rider who destroyed the rest and took over the land of Alagaësia. The entirety of the series is a plot to overthrow him.
  • Iron Man: Steel Terror has Ultron.

  • In Bryan Miranda's The Journey to Atlantis, most of the violent "natural" things that happen to the characters are actually the result of the mischievous beast-god Loki.

  • The Dark Tower/Insomnia/Black House: The Crimson King
    • The Crimson King is also arguably the Greater-Scope Villain for King's entire literary universe as it is heavily implied in the Dark Tower series that the events of all of his novels take place on different levels of the Tower and it is therefore the Crimson King's actions in trying to bring the Tower down that is causing ripple effects across the different worlds, not to mention the steady collapse of the entire multiverse.
  • Subverted in The Kingdoms of Evil with the main character, who is a moral person forced to act as an evil overlord.

  • The Last Vampire:
    • The Last Vampire: Yaksha, the first vampire and the heroine Sita's sire plans to kill her in order to atone for his creation of vampires.
    • Black Blood: Eddie Fender is an evil, newborn vampire who plans on wiping out most of humanity and ruling over the survivors as there leader.
    • Red Dice: Arturo Evola plans to discover the secrets of vampires in order to gain divinity for mankind through the use of immortal vampire-human hybrids.
    • Phantom: Kalika is Sita's daughter whose apparent rising evil serves as the main plot of the novel.
    • Evil Thirst: Kalika initially seems to be this only for the reveal of the true main villain whose Ortyo/"James Seter" and plans on consuming a child who is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ in order to gain godly powers.
    • Creatures Of Forever: Landulf of Capa who plans on shifting the balance between good and evil towards evil by manipulating Sita.
  • Eustace 'The Evil' De Mharburg from Paul Kelly's The Lost Brigade. A man so heinous that he was deleted entirely from history...
  • Loyal Enemies': Tairinn orchestrated everything, from the raising interracial tensions, through monster attacks and up to the main scheme.

  • The Crippled God is this for most of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Though not directly introduced until the third book, being The Man Behind the Man to, most prominently, the Pannion Domin, the Whirlwind rebellion, and Lether makes him the most significant and with the widest reach of any villain in the series. Ultimately subverted when after the events of book seven (when his followers lose control of Lether), the Crippled God loses most of his influence in the mortal world and the protagonists end up having to save him in the last book when a bunch of Abusive Precursors called the Forkrul Assail to hijack his powers for their own purposes.
  • Malevil has Fulbert, a Sinister Minister who turns a town into a post-Apocalypse "religious" dictatorship.
  • Masks of Aygrima, The tyrannical Autarch of Aygrima. In Faces he becomes part of a Big Bad Ensemble with The Lady of Pain and Fire. They both sap magic from their subjects to avoid dying of old age and want to take over Mara's body to live longer.
  • The Trunchbull of Matilda by Roald Dahl.
  • The Maze Runner:
    • Assistant Director Janson, better known as "the Rat-Man", is the primary antagonist of the series.
    • Gally more or less serves as this in the first book, where WICKED is monitoring things off-screen for the majority of the book. It's more explicit in the movie.
  • The Mediochre Q Seth Series looks to be building up "The Organisation Which I Represent" as the overall Big Bad. However, they mostly operate as a behind-the-scenes Greater-Scope Villain while more immediately-pressing plots are going on at the behest of a more temporary Big Bad.
    • Sapphire serves the role of immediate Big Bad in The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre.
    • Black, White and Shades of Mediochre has the necromancer, although there are indications that Obsidian may qualify as a separate, joint or even superior contender.
  • Michael Vey: Dr. C. James Hatch.
  • Gyphon is the overall villain of the Mithgar series. However, most of the individual books have their own Big Bads, who may or may not be trying to curry his favor, and usually come up with an enact their own schemes in the hopes of getting his support. Sometimes Gyphon's active Big Bad himself, sometimes he's The Man Behind the Man, and in other cases, he's just the Greater-Scope Villain. The Eye of the Hunter has Baron Bela Stoke.
  • Gabriel from the Modesty Blaise series is a low-key, but memorable Big Bad. After appearing in the character's first adventure, he then re-appears in ''A Taste For Death" wherein, in the words of series creator Peter O'Donnell (who was worried that a regularly-recurring villain might weaken the series), he is definitively killed at the hands of an even Big(-ger) Bad than himself.
  • The Monarchies of God: Aruan.
  • The Moomins: An impersonal example is the comet in Comet in Moominland that besides threatening to cause The End of the World as We Know It by colliding with said world causes all kinds of strange portents of doom for the heroes to contend with (ash all over the place, drying seas, storms) before it even gets there.
  • Valentine Morgenstern for the first half of The Mortal Instruments series.
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein: For the first half of the novel, the Big Bad is the Warden of the Lunar Authority who, while not exactly evil, is the hapless head of an authoritarian bureaucracy that facilitates the exploitation of the Moon's natural resources, something that will cause mass starvation and even the lunar population's extinction in the near future. In the second half of the novel, the Big Bad is the Lunar Authority's parent entity, the Federated Nations, which attempts to re-establish control over newly-independent Luna.
  • The Most Dangerous Game: General Zaroff.
  • The Mummy Monster Game: Seth, the Egyptian devil, whose actions kickstarted the events of the first game in the series and who later tampers with it to prevent Josh from retrieving his sister and cousin through the game.
  • Mythos Academy: Loki is an evil god who serves as the main threat of the series. He plans to revive himself to full power and bring about the age of chaos which would result in the deaths of all the other gods as well as the decimation and enslavement of humanity.

  • Nightfall (Series): Prince Vladimir has conquered the world and destroyed human civilization. Now, he breeds the surviving humans in farms for food and forces the Resistance to live in constant fear and on the brink of extinction.
  • 1984: O'Brien is the central villain of the novel, and is responsible for the tortures of Winston and Julia and later death of the former. Big Brother is the Greater-Scope Villain, assuming that he's actually a person and not just a concept.
  • Northanger Abbey has John Thorpe, who causes all of Catherine Morland's problems in the novel, even after he disappears from the plot.

  • Janus from Obsidian Mirror is described as one by Sarah. He rules the world in the future she's from, and his abuse of the titular mirror is said to be creating a black hole that will destroy the world.
  • October Daye series:
    • Rosemary and Rue: Devin is the one responsible for the apparent death of Evening Winterrose which is the main plot of the novel.
    • A Local Habitation: Gordan is responsible for the various killings taking place at Tamed Lightning which Toby is investigating during this novel.
    • An Artificial Night : Blind Michael serves as the main villain of the book having abducted various children to help with his Wild Hunt.
    • Late Eclipses: Oleander de Merlands and Rayseline Torquill plot here to frame Toby for various murders that they committed in hopes of having her executed for them.
    • One Salt Sea: Rayseline Torquill and Dugan plot during the novel to incite a war between the Undersea and Kingdom of the Mists in order to take control of The Mists.
    • Ashes of Honor: Samson as well as Treasa Riordan are responsible for the kidnapping of a young changeling whose powers they plan to use in order to allow them to take over the court of cats from Tybalt and conquer a new realm respectively.
    • Chimes at Midnight: The false Queen of the Mists is responsible for the deaths of various changeling children due to her distributing and selling a fatal narcotic drug to them.
    • The Winter Long: Eira Rosynhwyr AKA Evening Winterrose plans to forcefully take over Shadowed Hills and has helped her descendants seize various kingdoms in order to allow her to rule.
    • A Red-Rose Chain: King Rhys plans on starting a war with the Kingdom of Mists in order to enact his racist blood purity policies on them as well as impress his love, the false Queen of the Mists by getting revenge on Toby for her.
    • Once Broken Faith: Queen Verona is responsible for the assassinations of royals which take place here. The main purpose of this is to help increase her power.
    • The Brightest Fell: Amandine the Liar is Toby's mother and the main antagonist of this novel. During the novel, she kidnaps and holds captive the Love Interest of Toby and will only free him should Toby find Amandine's eldest daughter.
  • The Old Kingdom Series:
  • Ollie's Odyssey has Zozo.
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones features Ponokaotokaanaakii, or Elk Headed Woman, as the Big Bad. The spirit of a young pregant elk killed by four young Blackfeet on their tribal elders' hunting ground, which they trespassed on, she takes calculated and brutal revenge on her killers with several innocent people as collateral damage.
  • The Outsiders has the Socs.



  • The Rainbow Magic series has Jack Frost, who is always sending his goblins out to do his dirty work before appearing in the climax of a series.
  • Ranger's Apprentice starts off with Morgarath as its Big Bad in books one and two; the Skandians aren't really Big Bads in book three, but the closest there are to antagonists; the Temuji in book four; Keren in books four and five; the Tualaghi in book seven; Tennyson in books eight and nine; and Arisaka in book ten.
  • Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein: Gaines Beecher, the Mars Company's factor, or Resident Agent General, on the planet. He tries to carry out the company's plan to end the colonists' seasonal migration as a cost-saving measure (a move that would be both lethal, as the cold would kill many colonists, and unprofitable, as no work can be done under winter conditions anyway), and ends up jeopardizing the entire human settlement on Mars when his greedy attempt to capture and sell James Marlowe's bouncer friend Willis nearly galvanizes the Martians, of whom Willis is implied to be a juvenile, to wipe out all humans on the planet.
  • Reynard the Fox: In this medieval tale Reynard is the protagonist, but hardly an admirable character. He lies, cheats, murders, rapes, steals and betrays everybody and manages to get away with all of it in the end.
  • The Riddle Master Trilogy has a Big Bad Ensemble of Ghisteslwchlohm and the shape-changers, who operate independently (and indeed, often at cross-purposes). Near the end of the third book, Eriel, the leader of the shape-changers, captures Ghisteslwchlohm and magically binds him to serve her as The Dragon.
  • The Riftwar Cycle:
    • Magician: Doesn't have a clear-cut example, since the Kingdom-Tsurani conflict is grey enough. The Tsurani Warlord Almecho is the closest thing to one, though he's removed from play with a good chunk of the plot left to resolve.
    • Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon: Murmandamus looks like this, but is ultimately revealed as The Dragon to the returning Valheru.
    • Serpentwar: The Emerald Queen who eventually gets killed and replaced by the demon Jakan.
    • Conclave of Shadows: Leso Varen
    • Darkwar: The Dasati Dark God
    • Demonwar: Belasco and Dahun are a Big Bad Duumvirate
    • Chaoswar: The Dread, which is revealed to have been The Man Behind the Man to most everything else, making it the overall Big Bad of the entire saga.
  • Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark: Grand Cyclops, leader of Eldritch Abominations that feed on hate, manipulates the Ku Klux Klan, which naturally provides plenty of hate, to allow her and her minions to manifest and possess bodies. But the Klansmen's hatred isn't potent enough for her tastes, as it is born of insecurity and directed toward the powerless. What she really wants is the protagonist Maryse Bordeaux, because she has truly filling hate, a justified hate born of oppression and directed to those who have wronged her people over the centuries.
  • Rick Riordan's series:
  • Brian Keene's The Rising book series has Ob, the leader of a demonic group of sort-of zombies that possess dead bodies and turn them against humankind. However, in the first book he is in a Big Bad Ensemble with Colonel Schow, the leader of an entire platoon of Sociopathic Soldiers. In the second book, with Schow dead, Ob takes his position as the true Big Bad once again.
  • Rogue Sorcerer has Lyr Yarika, the once-powerful lord of a noble house who has since been reduced to running a quiet little inn.
  • The central villain of The Runelords is essentially that universe's equivalent to Satan though it manifests in several forms throughout, including the One True Master, Shadoath, and Lord Despair.

  • Safehold:
    • The Gbaba, who nearly rendered humanity extinct, necessitating the creation of intentionally-Lost Colony Safehold in the first place.
    • In a Posthumous Character sense, Langhorne and Bédard, creators of the Path of Inspiration Church of God Awaiting, which they designed to try and prevent the re-emergence of advanced technology for all time.
    • Finally, the first nine books have Vicar Zhaspahr Clyntahn, the Church's Grand Inquisitor, who starts a war that eventually goes global out of rampant paranoia over a nation he doesn't like, and is an all-round despicable human being.
  • The Inchoroi and the Consult of the Second Apocalypse series. Mostly because they apparently want to rape everything ever. And also because, according to Kellhus, the only way they can save their souls from being sent to Hell by the God is to exterminate the vast majority of the human race. The No-God is, in a way, something of a subversion of this: despite his overwhelming presence and the fact that his very existence makes every human baby stillborn, he doesn't really know what he's doing. WHAT DO YOU SEE? I MUST KNOW WHAT YOU SEE. TELL ME. WHAT AM I? Somehow, Bakker makes a Woobie out of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Sekhmet is the big bad of Sekhmet. She destroyed the old world and caused Set to go evil, but in the story is more of an Anticlimactic Boss
  • Count Olaf for most of A Series of Unfortunate Events, though we eventually discover that he's more like a Dragon to a larger organization. His incredibly horrifying superiors, however, are polished off in the second-to-last book, and Olaf enters into an Enemy Civil War with Knight Templar Ishmael in the finale. It's implied they kill each other.
  • The Big Bad of 7th Son is John Alpha, the initial subject of a decades long cloning experiment who got bitter, got crazy and got his hands on advanced cloning and memory manipulation technology.
  • Shadows of the Apt has a Big Bad Ensemble between Emperor Alvdan and Uctebri the Sarcad, who are each manipulating the other for their own gain, in its first arc. After they both die, Alvdan's younger sister Seda steps up to the plate as the new Wasp Empress, proving to equal and exceed the combined strengths of both. Ultimately, Seda's pursuit of supreme magical power leads her to tamper with a Sealed Evil in a Can that really should have been left alone, leading to the final and greatest threat of the series being the ancient horror known as the Worm.
  • The Shahnameh: Three of the most famous examples would be:
    • Zahhak, a tyrant with two snakes growing out his shoulders whom Zahhak must feed human brains to.
    • The White Demon, a cave-dwelling albino who rules Mazandaran.
    • Afrasiab and his brother Garsivaz who commit many atrocities including the execution of Siavash, which sends Rostam and the Persians on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Shannara:
  • ''Shardik: Genshed.
  • Every novel in the Sharpe series has one, sometimes more:
    • Sharpe's Tiger: The Tippoo Sultan, leader of the Mysore state at war with the British.
    • Sharpe's Triumph: A Big Bad Ensemble of Anthony Pohlmann (commander of the Mahratta army), William Dodd (the British deserter Sharpe is pursuing) and Obadiah Hakeswill (who attempts to frame Sharpe for assaulting an officer), although Dodd is working for Pohlmann for much of the novel under he deserts.
    • Sharpe's Fortress: William Dodd, who decides to seek power by gaining control of the fortress of Gawilghur.
    • Sharpe's Trafalgar: The Big Bad Triumverate of Anthony Pohlmann, Peculiar Cromwell and Michel Vaillard, who help the French capture the ship Sharpe is sailing on as part of a plan to smuggle messages of support to them. Lord William Hale is also a major antagonist, attempting to murder his wife Grace on learning she has been having an affair with Sharpe.
    • Sharpe's Prey: Captain John Lassiver, a British-Danish officer working for the French who attempts to kill the British agent in Copenhagen.
    • Sharpe's Rifles: Colonel De L'Eclin, commander of the French garrison at Santiago de Compostela, arguably in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Tomas Vivar.
    • Sharpe's Havoc: Colonel James Christopher, an honorary British officer who believes the French will win the war so deserts to them, leaving Sharpe and his men to die.
    • Sharpe's Eagle: Sir Henry Simmerson, the cowardly and brutal commander of the South Essex who abandons several of his men after a disastrous skirmish, and his Dragon Christian Gibbons, who attempts to kill Sharpe in order to take the credit for capturing a French eagle. Lieutenant Berry serves as Simmerson's Co-Dragon in the adaptation of Sharpe's Eagle for Sharpe, but in the book he's merely the Mook Lieutenant.
    • Sharpe's Gold: El Catolico, a corrupt Spanish partisan whose gold Sharpe needs to finance the British defences.
    • Sharpe's Escape: Ferragus, a traitorous Portuguese merchant attempting to provide the French with supplies in contravention of the British plan.
    • Sharpe's Fury: Colonel Vandal for the French (who earns the enmity of Sharpe by taking his lieutenant prisoner during a truce), Father Montseny for the inhabitants of Cadiz (who is planning to disgrace the British liaison and make an alliance with the French).
    • Sharpe's Battle: Major Pierre Ducos, who is The Man Behind the Man for Loup and Juanita, orchestrating a plan to have the Irish soldier rebel against the British by spreading false rumours.
    • Sharpe's Company: Hakeswill, who joins Sharpe's company determined to make his life a misery again, attempts to rape Terese and frames Harper for looting.
    • Sharpe's Sword: Colonel Philippe Leroux, a French cavalry officer charged with killing the British spymaster El Mirador.
    • Sharpe's Enemy: Pot-au-Feu, the leader of a group of deserters who have taken several army wives hostage, with Hakeswill as his Dragon, although the French attack on Adradas is organised by Ducos.
    • Sharpe's Honour: Ducos, who frames Sharpe for the murder of a Spanish officer to break up the Anglo-Spanish alliance.
    • Sharpe's Regiment: Lord Fenner, who attempts to have Sharpe killed in order to hide an illegal crimping scheme selling recruits to other regiments.
    • Sharpe's Siege: Ducos, who once again lures Sharpe into a trap to halt the British invasion of France. The French troops assaulting Teste de Buch are led by General Calvet but the plan is Ducos' with Calvet functioning as The Heavy.
    • Sharpe's Revenge: Ducos, who steals the Emperor's treasure and murders the officers guarding it, framing Sharpe in the process.
    • Sharpe's Waterloo: Effectively, Napoleon Bonaparte, who leads the French army at Waterloo. On a more personal level, Sharpe's estranged wife Jane Gibbons encourages her lover Lord Rossendale to murder Sharpe.
    • Sharpe's Devil: A Big Bad Ensemble of Governor-General Batista, who tries to sabotage Sharpe's efforts to track down his friend Don Blas Vivar, and Admiral Cochrane, who is actually responsible for Vivar's disappearance.
    • The short stories written by Bernard Cornwell: In "Sharpe's Skirmish", as far as Sharpe is concerned the Big Bad is General Herault, who leads a French assault on the border, but again Ducos is The Man Behind the Man. "Sharpe's Christmas" has Colonel Caillou, one of the senior officers of a French convoy Sharpe is charged with ambushing (although he dies without personally encountering Sharpe), and "Sharpe's Ransom" has Sergeant Challon, who takes Sharpe's family hostage believing he has the Emperor's treasure.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Kiloran, one of the water lords who rules his people with an iron fist.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Well, there are certainly a number of Big Bad characters in the series!
    • Weekend Warriors: Doctor Clark Wagstaff, Doctor Sidney Lee, and Doctor Samuel La Fond are a Big Bad Triumvirate of dentists and rapists!
    • Payback: Senator Mitchell "Mitch" Webster is a Big Bad, and an HMO consisting of Elaine Monarch, Derek Monarch, and Ethan Monarch seem to be a Big Bad Triumvirate. They have seemingly no connection to each other, but apparently Mitch had sex with Elaine and got AIDS from her and gave it to Julia Webster! Hoo, boy!
    • Vendetta: John Chai.
    • The Jury: The Barringtons were being set up as this... but they got away! So the story throws in an unrelated Big Bad in the form of Domestic Abuser and National Security Advisor Karl Woodley.
    • Sweet Revenge: Rosemary Hershey. Bobby Harcourt seemed to be a big guy at first, but it turns out that he's just a Horrible Judge of Character who finally wised up!
    • Lethal Justice: Arden Gillespie. Roland Sullivan is more of The Dragon to her than a Big Bad.
    • Free Fall: Michael "Mick" Lyons. There are four men who are apparently subordinate to him.
    • Hide and Seek: Mitch Riley, assistant director of the FBI.
    • Hokus Pokus: Grant Conlon and Tyler Hughes appear to be a Big Bad Duumvirate.
    • Fast Track: Maxwell "Max(ie)" Zenowicz.
    • Collateral Damage: Dan Winters and Baron Russell are likely a Big Bad Duumvirate.
    • Final Justice: Hank Owens, with four men working for him.
    • Under the Radar: Harold Evanrod, the Prophet of a pedophile polygamist cult called Heaven On Earth.
    • Razor Sharp: Vice-President Hunter Pryce, with several men being subordinate to him.
    • Vanishing Act: Margaret Pearson and William "Bill" Bell, identity thieves and a Big Bad Duumvirate.
    • Deadly Deals: Baron Bell, with Adel Newsom acting as The Dragon.
    • Game Over: Strangely enough, President Martine Connor is being set up as this, but it gets subverted when it turns out that she had been reluctant to throw out Obstructive Bureaucrats that had barred her at every turn, and simply needed some urging to do it.
    • Cross Roads: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, with Little Fish and Stu Franklin acting as Co-Dragons.
    • Deja Vu: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe.
    • Home Free: Owen Orzell and Jason Parker are apparently a Big Bad Duumvirate. Interestingly, Owen reveals that he was part of a Big Bad Triumvirate consisting of CIA director Calvin Span and Henry "Hank" Jellicoe. Henry is now rotting in federal prison, and Calvin is now dead from a heart attack he got while shovelling his driveway!
    • As indicated, Henry "Hank" Jellicoe could qualify as an overall Big Bad, especially after Free Fall.
  • The Skulduggery Pleasant series.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • There are too many plot-lines in the series to pick a single Big Bad; the series mostly features morally ambiguous and sympathetic humans pitted at odds with each other, making it difficult to pick out heroes and villains at all. When the Others finally come, everyone's gonna be screwed, though for the moment they have only been antagonists in the Night's Watch storyline, and for most of that storyline the Wildlings under Mance Rayder were more the antagonists, though the Wildlings have banded together and are trying to flee south in response to the Others... However the Others' threat starts to spill over into the main plotline when Stannis Baratheon saves the Night's Watch from the Wildlings on realizing that the Others are the true threat.
    • The Big Bad of the civil war plotline of the first three books appears to be Tywin Lannister for the most part, Warden of the West and head of the Lannister family, but towards the end it's revealed the true Big Bad is Littlefinger; who is responsible for the books' main action, notably the murder of Jon Aryyn and the death of Joffrey. Interestingly enough, officially in-universe Joffrey is the Big Bad, as he is the King the Lannisters and their allies are supporting, and thinks of himself as their leader, however he is so incompetent that his grandfather Tywin is clearly in charge.
    • Now that the combination of Tywin's death and their repeated defeats in battle has left the main antagonistic faction in disarray and largely supplanted by the Tyrells, there are three competitors for the title:
      • It's hard to say for sure given the series' long hiatus, but Feast for Crows and Dance With Dragons appeared to be setting up Euron Greyjoy as a Big Bad in the aftermath books, even though he doesn't appear in the first three books or play any role in the first two, outside the Appendixes, he is first mentioned in the third book when we hear after Balon Greyjoy's sudden death his brother Euron returned and claimed rule of the Iron Islands. So far, he has invaded and sacked the Shield Islands while dispatching the Iron Fleet to Essos under Victarion to bail out Daenerys (where they've left a trail of terror), with the implication that he plans to use magical artifacts he found to bend her dragons to his will. Book five ends with the Tyrells moving to confront him in the Reach.
      • Roose Bolton, Warden of the North, is this for the Northern story line and all the characters involved in it; he was arguably this since book three, both because of the role he plays in Jaime, Brienne, and Arya's chapters and because it's revealed he was subtly sabotaging Robb's whole cause ever since Stannis lost at the Blackwater, culminating in him and his allies butchering Robb's loyal followers in a dishonorable betrayal. Though he is acting in service of the Lannister regime, he doesn't interact with them much and his power base is effectively independent (it's also implied he approached the Lannisters with the betrayal idea rather than the other way around, and he enacts it without their troops present). The only reinforcements he gets are 2,000 Frey soldiers secured via marriage alliance, and any houses he can convert on his own initiative in the North. Much of book five revolves around Stannis building a loose alliance of southrons and northerners and leading them against him, while Jon watches anxiously from the Wall and POV characters Davos, Asha, Theon, and Melisandre are caught in the action; the book ends on a cliffhanger as Stannis's coalition engages a detachment of Roose's army, outmatched.
      • The aforementioned Littlefinger is still planning something with his politicking in the Vale, though whether this is part of a sinister master plan or just him trying to adapt is left ambiguous. Meanwhile, Tywin's daughter Cersei Lannister seemed set to become the main antagonist in book four, as she acts as regent for Tommen Baratheon, her weak-willed younger son, but she ends up a Big Bad Wannabe who quickly ends up purged by elements in her own capital.
  • The Sovereign Stone has Dagnarus, Lord of the Void, as its Big Bad. Interestingly, though plainly the bad guy, he's also the main character; the heroes who oppose him come and go, but in the end the trilogy is concerned primarily with Dagnarus, his rise, rule, and fall note .
  • Spectral Shadows pretty much features at least one Big Bad per serial. Then there's Salocin, the evil God, who pretty much serves as the series' Greater-Scope Villain.

  • In the Stories of Nypre series we have the unnamed creature that controls the Night Land who is behind most atrocities in the series.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Edward Hyde
  • Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town has Saint John, leader of a gang called "The Vipers" who has big plans for New York City.
  • The Survivor's Club: David Price.
  • Swordbird: Lord Turnatt Tyrant.
  • The Sword of Shadows series has numerous mortal villains running around, but they all pale compared to the incoming threat of the Endlords, nine godlike personifications of destruction and entropy.
  • The Sword of Truth has Darken Rahl in the first book, the Sisters of the Dark in the second book, and Jagang for the rest of the books, though most of those also have their own baddie for Richard to deal with, but they're almost always minions of Jagang's and the Imperial Order. The new book seems to have a villain named Hannis Arc, if the online blurbs released are to be believed.

  • The Thomas M. Disch classic book The Brave Little Toaster has the Giant Magnet for the book's antagonist.
  • The Thirteenth Tale: The real Adeline March.
  • Those Across the River: Hector, the leader of the werewolf pack in the Megiddo Woods that preys upon Whitbrow when the townsfolk choose to stop sending a monthly offering of pigs in the forest. He also has a particular interest in the protagonist Frank Nichols, as Nichols is the great-grandson of plantation owner Lucien Savoyard, his former master and the werewolf that turned him.
  • In Those That Wake, Man in Suit is this; he can influence and control almost anyone through spreading hopelessness, and is behind several major events in the present day and backstory. The sequel, What We Become, has the Old Man, who secretly runs the world via corporate dealings and has many subordinates on hand.
  • Time Out Of Time: Balor The One-Eyed. He seeks to rule over the Travelers' Market, and have all myths and legends conform to the dark's wishes.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Bob Ewell is responsible for framing a black man for the savage beating he committed, taking advantage of the racist system of 1920's Alabama to do so.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
  • Tortall Universe:
    • Song of the Lioness: Duke Roger of Conté. In an effort to usurp Prince Jon's place in the line of succession, he calls a plague, manipulates Jon into exploring an incredibly dangerous place, engineers a war with Tusaine and tries The Uriah Gambit, tries to kill Queen Lianne... when Alanna kills him, he's actually not quite dead and one of his allies manipulates Alanna's own brother into bringing him back, and he promptly begins plotting again.
    • The Immortals: Emperor Mage Ozorne of Carthak, who has designs on conquering the Eastern Lands and sees sending thought-extinct immortals at the kingdoms of the north as a grand way to weaken them up for conquest. After he's deposed and turned into a Stormwing, he teams up with an even greater villain: Uusoae, the Queen of Chaos.
    • The second half of Protector of the Small has Maggur Rathhausak, King of Scanra, who employs the necromancer Blayce the Gallan in the first place. Rathhausak never makes an on-page appearance, however.
    • Beka Cooper: Pearl Skinner in Bloodhound. She's terrified Sir Lionel into not interfering with her at all, which hamstrings the Guard and allows her to run wild making counterfeit silver coins — Lionel actively prevents anyone from investigating her too closely. She also murders anyone who risks exposing her. She got the original idea from Hanse Remy, but he banked on the fact that she'd take it to an extreme.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle: The Big Bad for the first three books (The Red Knight, The Fell Sword, and The Dread Wyrm) is Ash, a dragon of vast magical power who seeks to seize the gates, portals to other universes and key to his ambition of conquest. His success means the extinction or enslavement of man and the Wild. In the last two books of the series, The Plague of Swords and The Fall of Dragons, a Big Bad Ensemble emerges as other powerful entities scheme to take the gates, including the Necromancer, the will, and the fire. note  All of them make and break alliances with each other, but at the end Ash is left as the biggest and baddest antagonist the Red Knight and his armies must face.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Gothon is The Emperor that invades the good guy kingdom and tries to capture The Protagonist. He's actually an Unwitting Pawn for the Man Behind the Man, Kazebar.
  • The Twilight series has the Volturi, who are the most effective villains in the series. Namely Aro, who is rightfully considered to be the overall leader.
    • In the first book it's James.
    • In the second book the Volturi finally become involved in the story.
    • In the third book, it's Victoria; the Volturi are involved, but it becomes and Enemy Mine of sorts.
    • In the fourth and final book, it's the Volturi, again.


  • Victor Dashkov in Vampire Academy. Turns out to be the one hunting down Lissa for the last few years. Responsible for her and Rose running away from Moroi society in the first place.
  • In The Videssos Cycle, the most obvious villain is Avshar, though he's technically the Dragon-in-Chief to Wulghash, the ruler of the Yezda Empire. At least until the final part of the last book, when Avshar deposes Wulghash and takes over as Big Bad full-time.


  • You Are Dead (Sign Here Please): Director Fulcher is the big bad for much of the series, as he is responsible for putting Nathan's file in order and goes to great lengths to accomplish it.
  • The Big Bad of the Young Wizards series is the Lone Power, the creator and embodiment of death and entropy. Good luck, heroes.


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