Voldemort vs. The Joker: Obvious and Non-Obvious Evil in Fiction

A post by my friend Neal Silvester, who has a whole book of wonderful insights just like this:

A Mirror, a Sword and Shield

voldemort_mustache_joker_upside-downI’ve always hated Voldemort as a villain. Even though he does not bear a mustache, you can practically see him twirling it as he cackles, “Hahahaha. I am EVIL!” He murders casually, feels no remorse, speaks of himself in the third person, and has no real specific goals except to kill our protagonist and take over the world by becoming de facto Minister of Magic. Unlike Tom Riddle, his former identity, Voldemort lacks much, if any, nuance, and we can see it in the climax of Deathly Hallows. I think the low point comes when he reports to the gathered students and teachers and other good guys in the courtyard at Hogwarts that, Harry “‘was killed while trying to sneak out of the castle grounds’” and “there was relish in his voice for the lie” (731). Such a childish lie! Such simplistic, obvious evil!

Then there’s the substance of…

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