Magic corrupts. Well, the real saying is “power corrupts”, but in many fantasy settings, having magic is the same as having power, so for our purposes, magic corrupts. Indeed, where would a fantasy villain be without awesome magical powers? And as villains are some of my favorite characters, this is a topic that has fascinated me for ages. Magic + amoral people is a surefire way to make me interested in a story.
Buffy was one of my first fandoms, and I loved it. I also loved Willow Rosenberg, a Jewish witch who’s openly queer and unapologetic about her nerdiness, a great deal. Willow spends most of the series as Buffy’s best friend, constantly ready to help save the day with her powers. Unfortunately for Willow, things take a turn for the worst in Season 6. We learn that magic is addictive, and her powers start controlling her more than she controls them. As Willow loses herself to her magic, she turns to villainy, leaving her at odds with Buffy and the rest of her friends.
We here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends love to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day – and that means all kinds of love. While our post earlier today showcased our favorite canon and fanon romantic ships for the year, in this post we’re going to look at some of our favorite relationships between family members, as voted on by the whole LGG&F crew.
Let’s talk about sex. Sure, it’s magical, but sometimes it’s literally magical. One of my favorite things about speculative fiction is its ability take something ordinary and add a supernatural level to it, creating thought-provoking analogies and metaphors about various aspects of the human condition. Sex is one example of an arena sci-fi/fantasy media can explore in this way. Unfortunately, this is also an aspect that can lead to some pretty uncool tropes, from mysticalpregnancies to magical virgins and everything in between. Imagine my surprise, that while watching Teen Wolf, I saw a show where characters’ sex lives were separate from their supernatural lives.
Are they gonna just lie in bed and talk all night? Maybe!
I mean, I’m not one for princess fantasies, usually, but even I would love to be a space princess.
Lately, I’ve grown so tired of watching male “chosen ones” and “jerks with the heart of gold” save the day and get the girl. Representation matters, and girls want to be chosen ones too, and not just princesses in distress. Women are allowed to hate the world and be brilliant while reluctantly saving the day. And we should be able to see ourselves, our stories, and our fantasies reflected on screen too. I’m always on the lookout for female characters subverting generally male character tropes, and today I would like to tell you about some of them and why they matter.
I have noticed more than once how authors have used magic as a way to punish women when they have sex. Whether it’s in fantasy or horror, more often than not, women are punished with curses or death for enjoying sex, and it’s a trope that really needs to be put to rest. In horror movies two teens having premarital sex are almost guaranteed to be murdered by the monster. But women are punished far more often for sex than men. Heck, sometimes women are punished for sex even when it’s against their will. It sucks a lot that even in fantastical stories, we can’t get away from this mindset.
You all remember that iconic Red Pill/Blue Pill scene from The Matrix, right? Just in case you don’t, let me recap it for you. Our protagonist Neo, who is slowly discovering that his perception of reality is an illusion, is offered the choice between taking a red pill or a blue pill. A man named Morpheus explains to Neo that the illusion they’re in is called the Matrix, and serves to stop humans from discovering that they’re nothing but slaves. The blue pill allows Neo to go back to his normal life, while the red pill would allow him to fully wake up from the illusion and begin a quest for truth. Morpheus sums it up nicely:
You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
We see this Red Pill/Blue Pill symbolism all over the place in pop culture, especially geek culture. Sometimes pills are involved, other times it’s simple amnesia, or some kind of device to plop the hero back into their pre-story life. Why is it so popular? I think it’s because it speaks to a deep part of the human spirit.
For your Halloween pleasure, I am providing my Top 5 most terrifying female villains in geek TV shows. These are the women who you would not want to meet in a dark alley or in a brightly lit park, because no matter what, they’ll probably fucking kill you and laugh while they do it. Why only five? Well, sadly there aren’t as many female villains as there are male ones, especially in TV shows, and more often than not, they are shown to be just vain and petty rather than pure terrifying evil. For this list I chose ladies who seem to legitimately enjoy being evil and show little to no remorse for their actions. This does not necessarily mean that they have less depth or are less interesting; they are just the female characters you love to hate. I am also only sticking to one villainess per TV show. So with that in mind, let’s begin!
Trigger warnings for mentions of rape, torture, and abuse after the jump.